Achieving Justice for Children Academic Article uri icon


  • In 1999, public defender (PD) representation of defendants appearing before Israel's juvenile courts began to be phased in. This article reports some of the major findings of a study that examined the impacts of the introduction of PDs. Analysis of interviews with 14 PDs yielded four major themes concerning the impact of the "arrival" of PDs, nature of the court, PDs' role, and PDs' interactions with other court actors. Analysis of interviews with eight prosecutors yielded seven themes concerning the need for PDs, PD as state agent, PDs' role, harms of legalization, disruption of the court, compromising the therapeutic value of the court hearing, and changes in court process. More generally, both PDs and prosecutors placed uncritical store in the value of rehabilitation alternatives. Indeed, the welfare model continues to shape their roles. The findings can largely be explained in terms of Eisenstein and Jacob's courtroom workgroup model.

publication date

  • April 2007