Want to Appeal a Ruling? Pay Up
New regulations regarding legal civil matters are coming into effect. Among them is a draft regulation that includes heavily increased fees for filing an appeal to a court’s ruling, quoted at thousands and even tens of thousands of shekels. This way, for example, anybody who wishes to appeal a court’s ruling on an administrative matter will have to deposit NIS 30,000, and for a ruling on a family matter, NIS 15,000.
We appealed to the Minister of Justice and the Deputy Attorney General in a request to halt these new regulations, and instead include them in a meaningful public discourse including members from the Knesset, Bar Association, and experts from the non-profit sector and academia. In the appeal, Attorney Debbie Gild-Hayo, Director of Policy Advocacy, explains that increasing the deposit fees severely violates the right to access to courts, especially for the weaker populations, but also of many other private individuals and organizations with little resources.
The high deposit fees do not differentiate between kinds of litigations, and do not take into consideration the identity of litigators. Thus, for example, with regard to appeals to the Supreme Court on verdicts from the Administrative Court, it would have been appropriate to distinguish between the case of a commercial corporation that lost a tender or of a real estate company that is appealing on matters of planning and construction, and the case of a private citizen appealing for a dispute with an authority, for freedom of information, or a public appeal against a local authority concerning the freedom of expression in protests, or the policy on homelessness. Furthermore, the State has no mandate to set a deposit fee at all, which leads to the disruption in the balance of power between the sides, with a dangerous leaning in favor of the State.
Thereby, we asked that the repercussions of this legislation be reconsidered, and that the deposit fees will be determined according to the kinds of litigation and the sides involved.
On 7.1.21, the Ministry of Justice responded to our appeal that the regulations had already been approved. However, the response included: "That being said, and in light of the appeals received regarding Amendment No. 2, including yours, we intend to examine the comments received along with the court administration as soon as possible, and in this context examine whether there is room to change the various deposit fees as determined in the new regulations. In the meantime, we are happy to invite you to a meeting on the subject so that you can further explain your claims on this matter if you are interested. "