Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Israel: Parents May be Required to Provide Good Behavior Guarantee for Juvenile Offenders

(Nov. 18, 2015) On November 2, 2015, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed an amendment to the Juveniles (Penalties and Treatment Methods) Law 5731-1971. The amendment authorizes the juvenile court to order that the parents of minors who have been convicted of crimes provide a guarantee of their minor child’s future good behavior or pay a fine, court expenses, or compensation.  (Youth (Trial, Punishment and Modes of Treatment) Law, 5731-1971, 25 LAWS OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL 128 (5731-1970/71), as amended (Youth Law); Youth (Trial, Punishment and Modes of Treatment) Law (Amendment No. 20) (Methods of Treatment after Conviction) 5776-2015 (Amendment Law), Knesset website (in Hebrew) (scroll down to appropriate link).)

The Amendment Law clarifies that the authority given to juvenile courts to require a commitment to the child’s future (good) behavior or to impose payment of a fine is in addition to their power to apply other existing penalties and “methods of treatment” on the minor.  (Amendment Law, §§ 1-2.) Among the “methods of treatment” established by the Law are: “committing the minor to the care and supervision of a fit person other than his parent for a period prescribed,” “placing the minor under probation,” and “keeping the minor at a home or closed home for a period prescribed by the court.”  (Youth Law, § 26.)

A juvenile court must give a parent an adequate opportunity to be heard prior to being ordered to provide a guarantee of his/her minor child’s future good behavior or to make any payment. The Amendment Law imposes a ceiling of NIS10,000 (about US$2,563) on any payments levied against the parent. The court may require that the payment be paid in full at one time or paid in installments.  (Amendment Law § 3.)

According to explanatory notes attached to the draft bill of the Amendment Law, the need to involve the parent in a criminal proceeding conducted against his/her child by ordering the parent to either make a commitment to the child’s future good behavior or pay a fine is sometimes required even in cases in which the court has decided to convict and sentence the child. (Youth (Trial, Punishment and Modes of Treatment) Law (Amendment No. 20) (Methods of Treatment After Conviction) Bill 6766-2015 (HATSAOT KOK [Bills] (Government) No. 959 (Oct. 12, 2015), Knesset website (in Hebrew).)

Examples of cases in which the parent’s involvement in the criminal proceeding is required, according to the explanatory notes, include:

…[c]ases where the parent does not show any involvement in the life or actions of his/her child, or cases where the parent encourages his/her child to commit the offenses. This can be expressed, for example, by the parents closing their eyes to the fact that their son drives a mini-tractor without a license and thereby endangers human life, or that the minor is engaged in throwing stones for [extreme nationalist] ideological reasons.  The ability to resort to methods of treatment including [by] imposing on the parent a fine or payment of compensation or receiving from [the parent] a commitment to the minor’s [good] behavior in the future, even in a case where the minor was convicted, may, at least in some of the cases, convey to the minor and to his/her family members the message that the minor and the family members [carry] responsibility toward society for [perpetrating] the offense.  Similarly, imposing a fine or a duty to pay compensation on the minor’s parent, in the course of a legal proceeding to which the parent is a party, may return the responsibility to the parent, and even strengthen his/her authority over the minor.” (Id.)