The Israeli Class Action Law came into force in 2006, and
formally regulates the proceedings applying to class actions in
Israel. This type of action was available in Israel before 2006,
but was much less developed. Since the advent of the Law, class
actions have become a favored path of pursuing litigation where the
damage caused to a single plaintiff is not significant and would
usually not result in a claim against the party which caused the
damage. The majority of class actions filed in Israel are consumer
claims against corporate entities.
The procedure begins with a preliminary motion to the court to
certify a class action. The defendant then has the opportunity to
respond to this motion, and normally both parties can make oral
arguments in court regarding the motion. If the court grants the
motion, the proceeding continues as a class action, and the court
determines the scope of the plaintiff class. The court's
decision is made public in news media as well as in official
circulars, and any claimant who believes that they fall within the
class may apply to join the represented class.
A defendant in a class action motion has 90 days to file a
response, listing the legal and factual arguments against the
approval of the class action. As a rejection by the court of the
motion to approve a class action ends the legal proceeding, such a
decision carries a right of appeal.
We note that most class actions in Israel end in settlements,
and very few ever reach a court ruling.
Many consumer claims against corporate entities include
"Loss of Autonomy" as one of the causes of actions.
"Loss of Autonomy" is a concept which is intended to
address cases in which a person was deprived of his right to make
an informed choice with respect to his body. It was first
recognized in medical negligence cases and may be traced to
concepts of bodily integrity and one's dignity. It constitutes
both the cause of action and the type of harm caused.
Since damages were first awarded in a class action for
loss of autonomy, in 2008, in the Tnuva v Rabi case, this cause of
action has become integral to class actions filed by consumers
against manufacturers and distributors. It has been ruled that even
if the claimants have suffered no quantifiable damage, the harm
caused by loss of autonomy is of the 'pain and suffering'
type, exemplified by negative emotions such as disgust,
helplessness, and anger. This type of harm entitles a claimant to
compensation for non-monetary damages.
Following the Tnuva case, in a number of consumer class actions,
the possibility of claiming non-monetary damages due to the loss of
autonomy was recognized.
Implication of Filing a Class Action in Israel
Since the Law came into force, the number of class actions that
have been filed has increased significantly. According to official
records, 7,400 class action Motions have been filed since 2006, of
which 5,300 occurred in the last four years alone. In order to deal
with this "flood", the Minister of Justice is examining
the possibility of setting a court fee on the filing of a class
action Motion- in the sum of 50,000 NIS in the Magistrates'
courts, and 62,500 NIS in the District courts.
Currectly, no court fees are required when filing such a motion,
and this is a first step in bringing the class action back to a
reasonable proportion and easing the burden of the courts in
dealing with increasing numbers of motions.
Originally published September 22, 2016
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
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