Situated in Ramallah, the Court of Appeals is the sole appellate court in the West Bank for major cases, operating at the level between the Supreme Court and the First Instance Courts. It handles an average of 850 cases per year and addresses both civil and criminal issues.
The Court shares a building with the Ramallah Public Prosecution. With the support of the USAID Palestinian Justice Enhancement Program (PJEP), the Court and the Public Prosecution re-shuffled offices within the building to increase efficiency and productivity, and to allow the Public Prosecution to expand its space. PJEP assistance to the Ramallah Public Prosecution office included furnishings for the courtroom and public areas, the registration office, and judges’ offices.
For the Court of Appeals, PJEP helped to complete refurbishment of the court’s public spaces, including the courtroom, reception and waiting areas, and registration area. Furnishings provided for the courtroom included a platform and judicial bench, witness and advocates’ tables, audience benches, and a custom-made seal. Furnishings for the public area and judges’ offices included a counter for reception/registration area, benches for the waiting room, judges’ desks and chairs, drawer units, filing cabinets, computer desks, staff desks, meeting room chairs, and fax/printer tables.
The resulting space is more efficient and organized for judges and the public and provides a more attractive and presentable public space. The Court of Appeals is able to operate more effectively. The Head of the Court’s Bureau, Mr. Dureid Arar said, “The upgrades and refurbishments have made it more efficient for the court staff to file and retrieve court documents. Court users no longer have wait hours before being seen by a court employee because the bigger counter can now seat three staff members who can serve the public much faster.”
Equally important, visitors receive a positive impression of the court that reinforces the concept that the Court of Appeals is an important institution whose decisions should be taken seriously. High Judicial Council Director of Administration and Finance Fahed Qawasmeh said, “The furnishing of the Court of Appeals in Ramallah is very important in helping to maintain the image of the justice system and provide the public, lawyers, court staff and judges with a suitable atmosphere needed to deliver judicial services.”