Collective Redress & Class Actions 2021

Last Updated November 09, 2021

Israel

Law and Practice

Authors



Goldfarb Seligman & Co is one of Israel’s largest law firms and is among the elite group of firms that deliver top-tier legal services of an international standard. The professional hallmark of the firm, which traces its history back over 90 years, is the unrelenting pursuit of the highest professional and ethical standards in the service of its clients. Its attorneys represent leading Israeli and multinational corporations from various sectors in a wide range of class actions, including in relation to corporate law, securities, insurance, consumer protection, antitrust, discrimination, environmental law and more. Over the years, the firm has accumulated significant experience in handling precedent-setting class actions that are particularly complex and sensitive – whether due to the substance of the claim or to the amounts involved – with significant achievements to the benefit of its clients.

Until 1988, it was possible to file a class action under Regulation 29 of the former Civil Procedure Regulations, 1963 and 1984 ("Regulation 29") which stipulated that if the number of persons interested in one claim is large, one or some of them may, at the request of an applicant(s) and with the permission of the court, represent all interested parties in that claim.

In 1969 the Supreme Court held in CA 86/69 Merkela v Rabinowitz et al, P.D. 23(1) 645 that a class action application under Regulation 29 may only be granted if the relief sought by each of the members of the class is identical and is required due to breach of the same contract or due to damage caused by the same tort.

Over the years, very few class action certification motions were filed under the narrow framework of Regulation 29.

In the years following 1988, various laws were amended by adding specific arrangements for filing class actions, such as the Securities Law, 1968 (Chapter I1); the Consumer Protection Law, 1981 (Chapter F1); and the Economic Competition Law (formerly known as the “Antitrust Law”), 1988 (Chapter F1), to name a few.

In 2003, within the framework of PCA 3126/00 State of Israel v A.S.T Project Management, P.D. 57 (3), 220 (Nevo 2003), the Supreme Court rejected the district court's ruling (CP 1478/99 A.S.T Project Management v the State of Israel (Nevo 2000)) to grant a certification motion by virtue of Regulation 29, stating that the circumstances of the case did not fall within the ambit of that regulation’s wording. The Supreme Court stated that the legislature should find a legislative solution and urged it to expedite the much-needed class action legislation. 

The patchwork regime under Regulation 29 and the amended laws mentioned above had the following problematic features.

  • The narrow causes of action qualified for filing class actions were scattered among a few laws.
  • The underlying substance of the arrangements scattered among the various laws was essentially similar, but the laws differed in wording. These differences provoked scholarly criticism and required the courts to consider whether the different wordings were intended or unintended.
  • The status of NGOs as class action plaintiffs was not regulated.
  • There was a lack of procedures to handle multiple class actions filed on the same grounds.
  • A mechanism for joining a class such as an opt-in was absent.
  • The class action settlement approval process did not provide sufficient safeguards against the "Principal-Agent-Problem" such as the class representative’s exploitation of its power to decide to enter a settlement or reject a settlement).
  • The lack of sufficient regulation of withdrawals from certification motions leading to the courts often being unaware of the terms of this form of settlement.

The foregoing failings brought about the passage of the Class Actions Law, 2006 (the "Class Actions Law"), which addresses many of the above issues.

Nevertheless, there are still calls to amend specific aspects of the Class Actions Law to further implement the law’s goals and to reduce the frequency of its misuse in unsuitable claims.

The historical roots of Israel’s class actions regime are in England. However, its modern form derives from the United States. Over the years, the class actions procedure has been adopted in other common-law countries, such as Australia, New Zealand, and some provinces of Canada.

Similarities and Differences between Class Actions in Israel, the USA, and Other Common-Law Countries

The main similarities and differences between the class actions regimes in Israel, the USA, and other common-law countries are as follows.

In Israel, according to Section 20 of the Class Actions Law, in order for the court to certify a class action, the applicant(s) must prove the existence of a personal cause of action (in order to maintain the constitutional right to a fair/proper procedure). In the United States, proving the existence of a personal cause of action is only deemed necessary in some of the 50 states.

In Israel, Section 23 of the Class Actions Law sets forth the parameters for awarding legal fees to class counsel in a settlement or judgment, based mainly on a RAND Corporation study on class actions in the United States. The RAND study proposed that legal fees be determined, inter alia, in accordance with the benefit accrued to the members of the class and the general public from conducting the lawsuit, in order to prevent settlements that are more beneficial to class counsel and the class action plaintiffs than to class members. Section 23(b) of the Class Actions Law instructs Israeli courts to determine fees awarded to class counsel based on: 

  • the benefit derived by class members from the class action;
  • the complexity of the proceedings, the effort the applicant(s)/authorised representative has invested, and the risk involved in filing and prosecuting the class action, as well as the expenses incurred in doing so;
  • the degree of public importance/benefit of the class action;
  • the manner in which the authorised representative managed the procedure; and
  • the discrepancy between the remedies sought in the certification motion and the remedies awarded by the court in the class action.

The good faith principle

The good faith of the applicant is one of the four conditions that must be met under Section 8(a)(4) of the Class Actions Law for certification of a class action. Specifically, there must be a reasonable basis to assume that the interests of all class members will be represented and managed in good faith by the applicants and their attorneys (the latter are often the party that initiates and determines the course of the class action). 

The court may dismiss a certification motion if it finds that it was filed in bad faith, as the Supreme Court ruled in PCA 3698/11 Shlomo transportation (2007) LTD v S.A.M.G.R enforcement services LTD (Nevo 6 September 2017). However, in the US, good faith is not an explicit statutory requirement and appears to be invoked only in extreme cases of bad faith.

Professional class action plaintiffs

In the US, professional class action plaintiffs who profit from filing class actions, eg, in the field of securities, have been banned. In Israel there is no such prohibition.

The class

The Israeli court may certify a claim as a class action subject to such changes or conditions as it deems fit to ensure fair and efficient management of the case. According to Section 10(c) of the Class Actions Law, the court may define a subclass, if it finds that some of the members of the class raise questions of fact or of law, which are not common to all members of the class, and it may appoint a subclass representative if this is necessary to ensure that the matter of the subclass members is represented and managed in an appropriate manner. This mechanism is derived from Australian legislation (Sections 33Q and R of the Federal Court of Australia Act, 1976) and Canadian provincial legislation (Section 5 of Ontario’s Class Proceedings Act, 1992 and Section 6 of British Columbia’s Class Proceedings Act (RSBC 1996)).

The fund for class actions

The Class Actions Law established a fund to assist in the financing of class actions in Israel which are in the public interest (the "Governmental Fund of Class Actions"). Such a fund also exists in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia.

The fund is managed by a nine-member board appointed by the Israeli Minister of Justice and it is allocated funds from the Ministry of Justice's annual budget.

There is no applicable information in this jurisdiction.

Class actions in Israel are regulated by two items of legislation: the Class Actions Law, 2006 and the Class Actions Regulations, 2010. 

In Israel a claim can only be filed as a class action if the subject of the claim appears on the second appendix of the Class Actions Law, which is an exhaustive list of the following matters: 

  • consumer protection; 
  • insurance and provident funds;
  • banking and financial services;
  • antitrust and restrictive trade;
  • securities and corporate; 
  • privacy; 
  • environmental protection; 
  • labour; 
  • accessibility;
  • spam; 
  • discrimination; and
  • claims against government authorities regarding unlawful charges.

The following matters described in the second appendix of the Class Actions Law may be brought as class actions, in some cases, even regardless of whetherthe applicant(s) and the respondent(s) actually entered into a transaction.

  • A suit against a merchant, as defined by the Consumer Protection Law, regarding a matter between the merchant and a customer.
  • A suit against an insurer, an insurance agent or a management company, regarding a matter, including an insurance contract or provident fund by-laws, between them and a customer, including an insured person or a fund investor.
  • A suit against a banking corporation, regarding a matter between it and a customer.
  • A suit against a financial services provider, as defined in the Financial Services Supervision (Regulated Financial Services) Law, 2016, in connection with a matter between it and a client.
  • A suit according to the Economic Competition Law.
  • A suit in connection with the management of a trading platform, including a claim against a service provider on behalf of a company with a trading platform licence, including marketing services ("trading platform" and "trading platform licence" as defined in Chapter G3 of the Securities Law, 1968).
  • A suit deriving from ownership, possession, purchase or sale of a security (as defined in the Companies Law, 1999 and Section 52 of the Securities Law, 1968) or of a unit in a mutual fund (as defined by the Mutual Fund Law, 1994, including a unit in a foreign mutual fund offered to the public in Israel).
  • A suit regarding an environmental hazard against the cause of the hazard (as defined by the Prevention of Environmental Hazards Law (Civil Lawsuits), 1992).
  • A suit according to the Prohibition of Discrimination in Products, Services and Entrance to Entertainment Venues and Public Places Law, 2000.
  • A suit regarding labour discrimination, under the Equal Opportunities in Labour Law, 1988 or the Equal Pay for Males and Females Law, 1996.
  • A suit according to Chapters D, E or E1 of the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law, 1998.
  • A suit according to the Accessibility Rules under the Planning and Construction Law, 1965, as defined by Section 19A of the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law, 1998. 
  • A suit according to the Television Broadcasts (Subtitles and Sign Language) Law, 2005.
  • A suit subject to exclusive jurisdiction of the District Labor Court according to Sections 24(a)(1), (1a) or (3) of the Labor Courts Law, 1969, as long as the lawsuit does not seek damages for delay of pension payment, damages for delay of payment of compensation for delay of payment of wages or compensation for delay of payment of severance pay according to Sections 16, 17 and 20 of the Protection of Wages Law, 1958. 
  • An employee claim (except where a collective bargaining agreement applies) according to Section 6A of the Minimum Wage Law, 1987, or according to Sections 2-3B of the Right to Work Seated and Under Fair Conditions Law, 2007 or according to the Employment of Workers by Personnel Contractors Law, 1996. 
  • A suit against a governmental authority for the restitution of amounts collected illegally, as tax, fees or other compulsory payments, as well as a claim against the Israel Lands Authority for the recovery of amounts illegally collected even if they do not constitute a compulsory payment; Such a claim against the Israel Land Authority, in the framework of its activities under the Israel Land Authority Law - 1960, will be filed according to this clause only.
  • A suit against an advertiser under Section 30A of the Communications (Telecommunications and Broadcasting) Law, 1982.
  • A suit against a central pension clearing house in connection with the transfer of information or funds through a central pension clearing system, as defined in the Financial Services Supervision (Consulting, Marketing and Pension Clearing System) Law, 2005.
  • A suit by a holder of shares or means of control in a rated corporation or a holder of a financial instrument for which a rating has been determined, against a ratings company (as defined in the Regulation of Credit Rating Agencies, 2014), under any law related to credit ratings.

The statutory definition of what constitutes a class action suit is a claim or matter which raises material questions of fact or law similar to all members of the putative class. A person, public authority or organisation may file a class action on behalf of other persons whose claims are similar or identical to the applicant’s claims, without prior authorisation to act on behalf of those persons.

Under Section 8 of the Class Actions Law, if the existence of a personal cause of action has been proven, the court may certify a claim as a class action if the following conditions have all been met.

  • The action raises substantive questions of fact or of law common to all members of the class and there is a reasonable possibility that they will be decided in favour of the class.
  • A class action is the efficient and fair way to resolve the dispute under the circumstances of the case.
  • There is a reasonable basis to believe that the interests of all members of the class will be represented and managed in (i) an appropriate manner, and (ii) in good faith.

The court may certify a claim as a class action even if neither of the conditions (i) or (ii) in the third point above has been met, if the court finds that the existence of these conditions can be ensured by replacing counsel or by adding counsel or by replacing the applicant(s) or by adding applicant(s), or by other means.

A class action may only be filed on the grounds mentioned above in 3.1 Scope of Areas of Law to Which the Legislation Applies or in a matter that a statutory provision expressly states may be filed as a class action.

However, in certain circumstances a class action will not be certified against a government authority in relation to damage caused by a third party whose actions have resulted in the use or non-use of the supervisory, regulatory or enforcement powers of the authority in relation to that third party.   

A class action before the first instance can be filed in the magistrates' courts or the district courts depending on the amount being sought (the magistrates' courts can hear claims of up to ILS2.5 million while the district courts can hear claims amounting to ILS2.5 million or more).

When a certification motion is filed, the facts claimed must be supported by an affidavit and in certain matters an expert opinion may be required (eg, for proof of damage, and to support matters of special expertise). The certification motion must also specify the alleged cause of action and why it meets all conditions for approving the claim as a class action (as mentioned in 3.2 Definition of Collective Redress/Class Actions).

Appeals

Appeals on rulings or judgments rendered by a magistrates' court are heard by a district court and appeals on rulings or judgments of a district court (when sitting as a court of first instance based on subject matter jurisdiction) are heard by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court will only hear an appeal on an appellate judgment of a district court in rare cases.

If a case is heard by the economic department of a district court (as an economic issue as detailed in Section 5 of the Class Actions Law), the losing party in a decision to certify a claim as a class action can file a motion to reconsider the certification motion decision by a panel of three judges of the economic department of the district court in question. If the panel finds that a request for reconsideration raises an issue of special importance or sensitivity or an issue that has yet to be resolved by binding precedent, it may order that the hearing be referred to the Supreme Court, which will hear the request for reconsideration as if it were an appeal of the decision. 

The overall procedure for bringing a class action in Israel is as follows, from beginning to end.

  • Preliminary approach – a preliminary approach by the future applicant to the future respondent regarding the possible claim is not mandatory but is often looked upon favourably by the courts as an act of good faith and an opportunity for the parties to seek a negotiated resolution of the dispute before proceedings are commenced.
  • Certification motion – Section 6(a) of the Class Actions Law requires the applicant(s) to file notice of the class action with the Registry of Class Actions. Section 5(a)(2) of the Class Actions Law requires the applicant(s) to check whether an earlier application has been submitted in the same or a similar matter to the Registry of Class Actions, and if the applicant(s) finds such a prior registration, this must be mentioned in the certification motion. If a similar action has already been filed, Section 7 of the Class Actions Law allows the court to render decisions regarding the new claim such as joinder of both cases or dismissal of the later application.
  • Response to the certification motion is filed within 90 days from the date on which the respondent was served the certification motion. The respondent can possibly file a motion for summary dismissal of the certification motion and in some cases, a motion to extend the deadline for filing a response until the motion for summary dismissal is decided, prior to the said deadline.
  • Rebuttal to the response to the certification motion.
  • Preliminary hearing/s.
  • Preliminary proceedings (document discovery and interrogatories on the certification motion).
  • Cross examinations of affiants who filed affidavits in support of the pleadings.
  • Summations.
  • A decision granting or denying the certification motion. If the court grants the certification motion, it becomes a class action claim and the former respondent, now the defendant, will have 60 days to file its defence. The plaintiff will then have 14 days to file an answer to the defence.
  • This will be followed by preliminary proceedings (discovery and interrogatories on the main case), filing of evidence in chief (affidavits and expert opinions), trial hearings for cross-examination of witnesses and experts, summations and rendering of the judgment.
  • After a decision granting or denying the certification motion is made, the respondent can file a motion for leave to appeal a decision to certify a claim as a class action and a motion to stay the proceedings until the motion for leave to appeal is decided. However, per Supreme Court precedents, the threshold to prevail on a motion for leave to appeal is high and the appellate court is more likely to wait for the judgment in the class action itself, upon which the losing party will have an automatic right of appeal.

The Israeli legal system is adversarial and has many common-law features. Israel does not have juries. Israeli judges are professional judges who are appointed by a judicial appointments committee consisting of Supreme Court judges, government ministers, members of parliament and Bar association representatives.

The Israeli judiciary has specialised courts such as the economic departments of the district courts, administrative courts, maritime law courts and labour law courts. Class actions regarding these subject matters must be filed solely with the applicable specialised courts. Appeals upon judgments of the above will be filed with the Supreme Court, except appeals regarding labour law which will be filed with the National Labour Court.

As mentioned in 3.2 Definition of Collective Redress/Class Actions, a person, public authority or organisation may file a class action on behalf of other persons whose claims are similar or identical to the applicant’s claims, without prior authorisation to act on behalf of those persons.

As stated, the existence of a personal cause of action for the applicant and a cause of action for the class members is a necessary condition for class action certification. In the absence of a cause of action, the certification motion can be dismissed, as the class action does not create substantive rights.

A person who does not have a personal cause of action is not entitled to file a class action.

However, if the court finds that all of the conditions mentioned in 3.2 Definition of Collective Redress/Class Actions have been met vis-à-vis the defined class, but the conditions regarding the specific applicant(s) have not been met, the court will certify the class action but may order the replacement of the applicant(s). It should be noted that some judges have decided in certain cases to ascribe lesser importance to the personal cause of action requirement. 

The class is defined by the applicant(s). The court has discretion to change the definition of the class in light of the facts and reasons specified in the certification motion ruling.

The Class Actions Law does not limit the size of the class, but the courts have yet to determine whether there is a minimum threshold for class size below which class action certification should be denied. In practice, the minimum size issue is determined on a case-by-case basis.

In Israel the default for joining a class action is an opt-in mechanism, unless the court explicitly determines that an opt-out mechanism should apply in a specific case.

As part of a class action proceeding, respondent(s) can apply to join a third party that is needed in order to resolve the disputes, instead of clarifying issues relating to that third party in a separate procedure.

As in any claim filed, the applicant(s) can submit a request to join additional respondents. 

The court is also authorised, as part of its decision to certify the class action, to order the replacement of the applicant(s) and even their counsel. 

If the court certifies a class action, in the certification ruling it must determine the class in whose name the action will be conducted. Generally speaking, the certified class will not include a person whose cause of action arose after the date on which the class action was certified.

The court has full discretion to set the procedures for hearing the case (including delaying proceedings due to a similar earlier case). The court will base its ruling on Supreme Court precedents or, in the absence of a Supreme Court precedent, may base its ruling on rulings made by courts of the same hierarchical rank.

The court may seek the position of the relevant regulator regarding the issue(s) in dispute in the case. 

The court may also suggest that the parties try to resolve the dispute between them directly or in mediation.

Adjudication of the certification motion can take two to four years in the magistrates' courts and three to five years in the district courts.

Usually, cases end in settlements within a year from the date of filing of the certification motion, though some settle later. 

If a certification motion is approved, the court will then hear the class action claim and that may take an additional two to three years in the magistrates' courts and three to four years in the district courts. However, a case will very rarely be handled after a certification motion is approved as the parties will try to reach a settlement at this stage.

The statute of limitations in Israel for most civil litigation is seven years and this will apply to class actions unless stated otherwise in specific legislation (which will usually stipulate shorter prescription periods).

Section 26 of the Class Actions Law adds a specific statute of limitations with regard to class actions.

  • Where the court has approved a class action according to Section 8, all those listed with the class defined by the court according to Section 10 will be seen, in the matter of obsolescence, as if they had submitted a suit on the same date the certification motion was submitted.
  • Where the court rejects a certification motion or orders that it should be deleted, the statute of limitations of a claim of a person belonging to the class in whose name the certification motion arose, due to the same cause of action, will not expire before one year has elapsed from the date the decision on approval became final, provided that the person's claim had not lapsed by the date the certification motion was filed. 
  • The one-year statute of limitation will also apply to scenarios where the court has re-defined the class definition (from the day of the decision by the court), or when a person has notified their desire not to be included in the class or in the settlement arrangement (will not end before one year has elapsed from the date of such notification), or if the court has ordered that the class in whose name the class action will be managed should only include a person who has notified the court of their desire to join it.
  • If the court defined the class on whose behalf the class action will be conducted, according to the provisions of Section 10, in a manner that does not include all those listed among the class in whose name the certification motion was submitted, or the court has decided to change the class definition, the obsolescence period of a person who is not included in the aforementioned definition of the class, deriving from the same grounds for suing, will not end before a year has passed from the day the decision of the court in the matter of class definition became conclusive, under the condition that the person’s suit had not become obsolete by the date the certification motion was submitted.
  • If a person has notified their desire not to be included in the class in whose name the class action will be conducted under the provisions of Section 11 or their desire that no settlement arrangement be applied to them under the provisions of Section 18 (f) or 19 (d), the obsolescence period of their suit, deriving from the same grounds, will not end before one year has elapsed from the date of such notification, under the condition that the person’s suit had not become obsolete by the date the certification motion was submitted.

Where the court has ordered that the class in whose name a class action will be managed will only include a person who has notified the court of their desire to join it, in accordance with Section 12, the obsolescence period of a suit by a person listed among the class in whose name the certification motion was submitted and who had not informed the court of their desire to join the class action deriving from the same grounds, will not end before a year has passed from the day they made said notification, under the condition that that person’s suit had not become obsolete by the date the certification motion was submitted.

Binding Israeli precedent deems the certification stage a preliminary phase of the case. Therefore, most motions for summary dismissal of certification motions will be denied outright, without addressing the merits of such motions. Overall, the vast majority of the cases in which summary dismissal motions succeed concern subject matter that does not appear in the second appendix of the Class Actions Law.

The courts may allow deviation from procedural conduct based upon court rulings in the form of dismissal or delay for any reason – including due to the existence of settlement negotiations and if the parties waive the right to conduct cross examinations.

When a class action is filed, the applicant(s) is required to pay half of the fixed filing fee, which varies depending on the rank of the court concerned (the full filing fee for district court class actions is ILS16,128 and the magistrates' court class action fee is half that amount, ie, ILS8,064). 

If the court dismisses the certification motion, the second half of the fee will be paid by the applicant(s) and if the court approves the certification motion, the second half of the court fee will be paid by the respondent(s).

In the case of settlement, an exemption from the second half of the filing fee may be obtained, otherwise the respondent will have to make the payment.

If the lawsuit ends in a settlement or if a class action is certified, the applicant(s) and counsel receive a percentage of the benefit to the class as a reward for their efforts and representation of the class.

In a withdrawal of the action (see 4.12 Settlement and ADR Mechanisms), the remuneration and legal fees will usually run in the tens of thousands of shekels (in most cases, up to ILS100,000). In a settlement by way of a consent judgment (which results in res judicata), the amounts will usually run in the hundreds of thousands of shekels and in some cases (mostly securities or insurance actions) in the millions of shekels.

A costs order given in the context of a certification motion decision will not reflect the actual costs of the prevailing party. If the application is denied, the Civil Procedure Regulations, 2018 require the court to order the applicant(s) to pay the respondent’s “reasonable and fair expenses”.

Certification motions based on certain causes of action are exempt from payment of the filing fee (see an example in 5.4 Impact of COVID-19).

There are few litigation funds (in addition to the Governmental Fund of Class Actions as mentioned in 1.2 Basis for the Legislative Regime, including Analogous International Laws) which fund class actions (in full or in part). 

The general rule of discovery prior to certification is that the applicant is only entitled to discovery of documents that are relevant to the issues in dispute re the certification motion stage (which usually excludes information on the amount of damages and scope of the class). "Fishing expeditions" are not permitted.

If a respondent ignores an applicant’s discovery request or if the applicant deems the respondent’s replies insufficient, the applicant will often file a motion to compel discovery.

Attorney-client privilege and litigation privilege apply as they do in regular litigation, meaning the court may not lift attorney-client privilege or the litigation privilege without express consent from the client. In so far as there is client-attorney privilege, disclosure or allowing the applicant(s) to get a copy thereof, may be avoided completely.

The court may issue protective orders to protect the respondent’s trade secrets or the confidentiality or privacy of third parties, such as ordering that certain documents will not be produced to the applicant, that redacted documents will be produced or that document production will be subject to a confidentiality order.

Monetary relief, declaratory relief, restraining orders and mandatory injunctions are available in Israeli class actions.

As early as after filing of the certification motion, the parties may contact one another to discuss possible resolution of the case, ranging from withdrawal of the case to settlement by means of a judgment (which results in res judicata). This can be done at any time during the case by the parties themselves or with the assistance of a mediator. The court may suggest that the parties mediate their dispute as well. 

Any withdrawal or settlement requires court approval. Unless the settlement provides for full dismissal of the claim, the settlement will include remuneration to the applicant and legal fees for the applicant’s counsel. A settlement via a judgment will also include some benefit to the class members. The remuneration and legal fees in either mechanism are subject to court approval and the court may decide to reduce the amounts or to order no remuneration/legal fees at all.

Before deciding whether to approve a res judicata settlement agreement the court requires the Attorney General's position with regard to the settlement agreement and may appoint an examiner to examine the settlement, including its pros and cons in relation to all class members and taking into account all relevant circumstances. 

The court can approve the settlement agreement, reject it or request the parties to amend it. 

The judgment will apply to the applicant(s), to the members of the class (unless requests to opt out from the class were granted) and to the respondent(s). 

If the judgment is monetary and the judgment debtors do not pay the judgment amount, it can be enforced via the execution bureau (Israel’s version of bailiffs). If the judgment is declaratory or for injunctive relief, the violating party may be found in contempt of court and fined.

As stated in 4.7 Length and Timetable for Proceedings, there are some exceptions to the statute of limitations regarding certain class actions. One of them is the statute of limitations in claims against the state or against government authorities, which is only 24 months. 

In November 2020, following years of litigation, the Supreme Court in ADP 8626/17 Menirav v the Tax Authority, ordered the Tax Authority to refund public taxes collected illegally during that 24-month period but also added that the refund period would include the period after the filing of the certification motion; and under exceptional circumstances, even after the approval of the certification motion, thus the court set new limits for the state’s restitution period. 

Also, as stated in 4.5 Joinder, a court may permit additional individuals to join a class. The justices of the Menirav court added additional individuals whose cause of action arose after the filing of the certification motion, due to the exceptional circumstances of the case. This may be a sign of future developments in this matter.

In light of the evolution in case laws in the 15 years since the commencement of the Class Actions Law, the Ministry of Justice formed an inter-ministerial committee in November 2020 to consider amending the Class Actions Law. At this early stage, there have been no official disclosures regarding possible changes to the Class Actions Law.

In addition, as stated in 4.12 Settlement and ADR Mechanisms, settlement is an option to dispose of a certification motion. When a settlement is filed with the court, the Attorney General is required by the court to submit their position. As a result of the massive workload on the Attorney General, the Attorney General's Office is considering delegating its powers under the Class Actions Law to specific government offices/public attorneys.

See 5.1 Policy Development.

Brexit has had no apparent impact on collective redress and class actions in Israel.

Insurance Claims

During various phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Israeli government imposed restrictions on businesses all the way up to closures. As a result, class actions seeking refunds/reductions of insurance premiums were filed. For example, in ADP 25472-04-20 Kama Mia Textile Ltd et al v Migdal Insurance Company Ltd et al, the applicants claimed that the insurance companies were unlawfully enriching themselves at the applicants' expense and at the expense of the putative class, and that the insurance companies should significantly reduce the premiums of the class members for employers' liability and third-party liability coverage. The Haifa District Court denied the certification motion in this case.

Certification motions regarding automotive policies and homeowner policies are still pending in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa District Court.

Accessibility Claims

There has been a massive increase in certification motions filed per the Equal Rights for Persons with Disabilities Law, 1998 and especially regarding internet accessibility, as businesses sought to operate via websites when they could not open their physical places of business to the public.

According to the Israeli economic press, at the height of the COVID-19 disruptions to the Israeli economy (March–April 2020), approximately 450 class actions were filed; this is five times the regular two-month average of new class action filings.

Goldfarb Seligman & Co

98 Yigal Alon St
Tel Aviv 6789141
Israel

+972 3 608 9803

+972 3 608 9911

info@goldfarb.com www.goldfarb.com
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Goldfarb Seligman & Co is one of Israel’s largest law firms and is among the elite group of firms that deliver top-tier legal services of an international standard. The professional hallmark of the firm, which traces its history back over 90 years, is the unrelenting pursuit of the highest professional and ethical standards in the service of its clients. Its attorneys represent leading Israeli and multinational corporations from various sectors in a wide range of class actions, including in relation to corporate law, securities, insurance, consumer protection, antitrust, discrimination, environmental law and more. Over the years, the firm has accumulated significant experience in handling precedent-setting class actions that are particularly complex and sensitive – whether due to the substance of the claim or to the amounts involved – with significant achievements to the benefit of its clients.

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