Substantial Fee To Be Charged For Filing A Motion To Certify A Class Action

Author:Ms Gilli Cohen Arazi
Profession:Barnea & Co

At the end of November 2017, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee of the Knesset approved a revised draft bill to amend the Courts Regulations (Fees), whereby parties filing a motion to certify an action as a class action will be charged a court fee. At issue is a material change pertaining to class actions, as they were exempt from court fees up until now.

This exemption served the primary purpose of class actions - to encourage private enforcement, as well as to give claimants, who, for the most part, are consumers suing major corporations, the opportunity to join forces in order to protect their rights and sue at low cost, in situations in which personal lawsuits are not economically feasible.

Now, the opponents to the amendment are arguing that petitioners will be blocked from filing a class action if they don't have enough money to pay the fee. The average citizen's chances of defending his rights against the State or against corporations prejudicing him, at a relatively minor price, will be severely constrained. On the other hand, the supporters of the amendment argue that it will constitute a deterrent against groundless or futile lawsuits and will slightly relieve the burden on the courts.

The first draft bill for an amendment pertaining to the payment of a fee for opening a proceeding to certify an action as a class action was filed back in July 2016, and was the subject of a stormy debate both by the public and in the Knesset. The draft bill approved by the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee is more lenient than the one originally submitted, and sets the fee for filing a motion to certify an action as a class action with the Magistrate's Court at NIS 8,000 and with the District Court at NIS 12,000. (The original draft bill sought to impose a fee in the sum of NIS 50,000 for filing a motion to certify a class action.) This fee is divided so that the representative claimant is required to pay only a portion (about two thirds) of the fee when opening the proceeding, while the remaining third will depend upon...

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