REFILE-UPDATE 1-UK welcomes Israeli PM Netanyahu's move to pause judicial reform

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(Corrects to last week, not earlier this week, in fourth paragraph)

LONDON, March 27 (Reuters) - British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly praised Israel's decision to pause legislation to reform its judiciary on Monday, emphasising the importance of "checks and balances" after widespread protests over the contested plans.

"The UK welcomes the decision today by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pause legislation to reform Israel’s judiciary," Cleverly said in a statement after Netanyahu delayed the decision until next month amid mass protests.

"It is vital that the shared democratic values that underpin that (UK-Israel) relationship are upheld, and a robust system of checks and balances are preserved," Cleverly added, echoing Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's stance.

Sunak received Netanyahu last week in London, where the Israeli leader was met with hundreds of protesters, some of whom held up Israeli flags and shouted chants, such as "Boosha!" which means "for shame!" in Hebrew.

Netanyahu has faced weeks of uproar over his religious-nationalist coalition's pursuit of changes to the judiciary that would give the government sway in choosing judges and limit the Supreme Court's power to strike down laws. (Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Leslie Adler)