The Ombudsman's Office of the Israeli Judiciary was established in 1st October 2003 pursuant to the Ombudsman for Complaints against Judges Law, 2002. Its purpose is to improve the unique service supplied by the judiciary, while maintaining judicial independence. This purpose reflects a via media that combines judicial independence with accountability, and is apparent in a number of ways, among which is the principle idea that the Ombudsman does not review substantive judicial decisions.
The Ombudsman's office provides an address to anyone who sees himself or herself injured by judicial misconduct. The Ombudsman investigates complaints regarding judges' conduct, such as the use of offensive language in courts' decisions or during a hearing; misconduct outside the court; and complaints regarding the manner in which the trials are conducted, such as unreasonable prolongation of proceedings. The judges that are subject to the review of the Ombudsman are: judges and registrars from the general courts system, including judges from Labor Courts; judges in religious courts; and military judges.
Before the legislation regarding the Ombudsman was approved by the Israeli Parliament, an extensive discussion took place, regarding the need for such a body and the authorities it should have, if at all. These discussions showed the need to set up a statutory body that would exclusively deal with complaints against judges, previously dealt by different bodies which did not have a specific statutory authority. The Ombudsman established is an objective, neutral, and professional body, traits that are assured by a number of mechanisms (such as the procedure by which Ombudsman is appointed and the fact that the Ombudsman's Office employees are subject to no authority other than the law).
Throughout her work, the first appointed Ombudsman, T. Strasberg-Cohen, former justice of the Supreme Court of Israel, adopts a concrete and systematic approach, which enables repairing faults both in specific complaints and in the judicial system as a whole. In order to repair faults, the ombudsman is authorized to recommend reprimands, to suggest how future conduct should be improved and also - in severe cases - to recommend of the removal of a judge from his or her office. On a general level, the Ombudsman publishes statements of opinion on different matters, and lectures to judges in order to improve their behavior and efficiency.