Israel leads the world as judges qualify in child development

Sixteen judges in Israel brought something new to their family courts in 2022. As well as being Family Law specialists, they have a Master’s degree in Child Development from Haifa University. That means Israel leads the world as the first family court judges qualify in child development at this level.

Professor Avi Sagi-Shwartz led the project based in Haifa’s Center for the Study of Child Development.

The course aimed to expand and deepen family judges’ knowledge so they can handle complex proceedings better. Cases like those of children who need substitute care, or those in disputes when parents separate.

The program syllabus includes modules in:

  • Children, Law and Justice;
  • Dispute resolution;
  • Advanced studies in developmental psychology;
  • Attachment and parenting;
  • Research based assessment and evaluation methods;
  • Reading expert opinions and evaluations;
  • The voice of the child and evidence of children in court settings;
  • Issues in adolescence;
  • Children in need of protection and developmental psychopathology.

Retired Judge Philip Marcus, co-chair of the Law and Justice Advisory Board of Two Wishes Foundation, is the contact for this and further information: email him at philipmarcusjurist@admi.

What’s missing

Israel’s remarkable world-leading innovation aims to ensure the competence of family courts as judges qualify in child development, one of their core concerns.

The program is also remarkable as it highlights what ‘s missing everywhere across the world in the main system that is entrusted with complex decision-making over children’s lives.