HOW TO SERVE LEGAL PAPERS IN ISRAEL

This article will provide guidance on How To Serve legal papers in Israel. To exercise jurisdiction over another party (such as a defendant), court, or administrative body, service of process is used to provide adequate notice of an initial legal action to such parties, bodies, or tribunals (such as a defendant). A process server conducts a process service by delivering a collection of court papers (referred to as ‘process’) to the person to be served.

In accordance with the Hague Service Convention, a multilateral pact signed on November 15th, 1965, at the Hague Conference on Private International Law in the Netherlands, Israel process service civil and commercial cases. The country is a signatory to the convention so that plaintiffs could serve overseas defendants with court papers that could be seen as trustworthy. However, the convention’s requirements only apply to the delivery of civil and commercial processes, not criminal proceedings. If the person to be served does not have a known address, the Convention does not apply.

HOW ARE LEGAL PAPERS SERVED IN ISRAEL

Signatory to the Hague Service Convention, Israel is governed by service of process between member countries. Alternatively, service may be provided through official service via the Central Authority, which organizes service under the country’s regulations. This treaty does not require the translation of any documents to be served. The clerk of the court is the sole judicial body in Israel that may seek the service of papers. Both the Hague Conference on Private International Law and Israel’s domestic process service laws agree as to the harmonious interpretation of the United States legal process insofar as attorneys in the United States are qualified to carry out the Hague Service Request application by Rule 4 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and comparable state laws in the United States. If an application does not contain the court’s seal and a clerk’s signature and title, it may be rejected by Israel’s courts.

The clerks of the Magistrate’s courts deliver service either by registered mail with a certificate of receipt of service or by hand. A family member who lives at the same home and is at least eighteen years old may receive the papers if the person to be served is not at the address indicated. It is also possible for a clerk of court to put a document on the intended recipient’s door after three attempts to serve it at an address where no one has responded, and this is considered legal service.

how to serve legal papers UNDER ARTICLE 5 service in Israel

Service is effected either by registered post with a certificate of receipt of service or personally delivered by the clerks of the various Magistrate’s courts. If the person to be served is not at the address given, the documents can be accepted by a family member who lives at the same address and appears to be at least eighteen years old. In addition, if the documents are served by the clerk of the court on their third visit to an address where no answer has been obtained, the clerk can post the document on the door of the intended recipient – and in this case, this is regarded as legal service of the documents.

DOMESTIC PROCESS SERVICE IN ISRAEL

If a defendant is not present in Israel or is not an Israeli resident, the Israeli court is not permitted to hear their case. It is the ‘territorial rule,’ which states that judicial papers may be served on any individual present in Israel’s territory, even if only for a brief period, and to that person exclusively (whether or not they are an Israeli citizen). Additional ‘international jurisdiction provisions’ included in Israeli law under the Civil Procedure Regulations, 5744-1984 allow particular conditions and scenarios in which the court may hear a person’s case even if they are not physically present in Israel’s jurisdiction. This means that a fundamental rule based on the subject at hand, as opposed to just where the defendant lives, gives Israeli courts exclusive jurisdiction over issues that have occurred in Israel (as defined by the Regulations) for the purposes of the basic territorial rule.

CIVIL PROCESS AND CONSTRUCTIVE PRESENCE IN ISRAEL

The Civil Law Procedure Regulations allow court papers to be served on a defendant’s representative in Israel, even if the defendant is not present in Israel at the time of service. Under these situations, the overseas defendant’s representation will be treated as if the defendant were physically present in Israel, a concept known as ‘constructive presence.’. According to case law, foreign citizens may choose in advance and writing that their Israeli lawyer is not entitled to receive court papers on their behalf.

Court papers may be served on a foreign defendant’s representative who runs or is authorized to handle the foreign defendant’s business in Israel if the case is on a matter of business or work.

The pertinent issue is when a party with a commercial connection with a foreign resident would be designated a representative who manages their business or is allowed to manage their company on behalf of that person’s business.

An indicator of this is that the Israeli agent has portrayed themselves to other parties as representing the foreign defendant or must record their acts or split profits with the foreign defendant, as shown by Israeli courts. Distributors that buy products from a foreign source and run their company in Israel independently are not like this. ‘Representatives authorized to handle a company’ were not often accepted in Israeli courts in the past. However, the stance of the Israeli court on this topic has altered and grown more flexible over time. There has been a recent shift in the court’s recognition of representatives authorized to administer a firm, allowing them to serve court papers on overseas defendants via them. The foreign defendant cannot deny the representative’s right to take court papers on their behalf, unlike the service of an Israeli lawyer under the aforementioned Regulation 477.

Civil Procedure Regulation 500 contains a list of further exceptions to the territorial norm. It is possible to provide judicial papers to a foreign defendant even though they are not present in Israel, with the court’s agreement, under distinct factual scenarios. Whether the defendant is physically present in Israel, court papers may be served on a foreign defendant in Israeli real estate litigation. Contracts signed in Israel are subject to Israeli law, regardless of where the defendant is located.

A claim for the cancellation, enforcement, or violation of a contract (whether or not it was entered into on Israeli soil) may be served on a foreign defendant’s Israeli authorized agent using a court document. Courts frequently evaluate the connection between a foreign defendant and Israeli representation in this context. However, compared to Regulation 482, the threshold of evidence necessary here is substantially lower. 

When serving court papers under Regulation 500, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the Israeli court is ‘forum conveniens’ to hear the matter, which makes the process a bit more complicated. As a result, the plaintiff must persuade a court that the action should be tried in Israel rather than in the nation of the defendant’s citizenship. When an Israeli company works with a foreign partner in international business, it is reasonable to assume that the Israeli court will not hear a claim for breach of contract if the Israeli company manages the majority of its operations outside of Israel (manages warehouses in Europe and has marketers throughout Europe, while only a small portion of its activities are carried out in Israel).

HOW TO SERVE LETTERS ROGATORY in Israel

Letters Rogatory is used for obtaining evidence or serving pleadings in countries that are not signers of the Hague Service Convention. They are a request from a court in the United States to a court in a foreign country requesting international judicial assistance related to the service of process. This method is time-consuming and cumbersome and should be used only when other options are unavailable. This method may result in habitual time delays of up to one year in executing the request.

The documents must be translated into Hebrew, English, or Arabic. The timeline for execution for letters rogatory was to be done in one to four months.

The Hague Service Convention established a simpler means for parties to effect service in other contracting states. Under the convention, each contracting state must designate a central authority to accept incoming service requests. A judicial officer competent to serve Israel process service in the state of origin is permitted to send a service request directly to the central authority of the state where service is to be made. Upon receiving the request, the central authority in the receiving state arranges for service in a manner permitted within the receiving state, typically through a local court. Once service is effected, the central authority sends a certificate of service to the judicial officer who made the request. No fees are charged by the Israeli authorities for the service of documents under the Convention.

how to serve legal papers by ALTERNATIVE METHODS in Israel

The Hague Convention provides various modes of process service of documents such as by postal channel or by diplomatic or consular agents, judicial officers, officials, or other competent persons. These provisions are covered under Articles 8 to 10 and may or not be allowed by member countries as a valid mode of serving the documents in their territory. The method of serving the documents through the Central Agency (Article 5) is not optional but is binding on all the member countries. The services done by the Central Agency usually take a long time: 4 to 12 months. The convention relieves the litigants if they have not received a certificate of service or delivery from the Central Agency even after waiting for six months. In such cases, the Court may give its judgment if it considers that a reasonable time has elapsed. Also, in case of urgency, the court may issue a provisional order or protective measure even before the six-month waiting period.

how to serve legal papers BY MAIL in Israel

Service by mail is possible only in states that have not objected to that method under Article 10(a) of the convention and if the jurisdiction where the court case takes place allows it under its applicable law.

Most countries require the documents to be translated into the nation’s official language where they are to be served. Although Hebrew is the official language, documents filed in English are not required to be translated. It is possible, although rare, that a demurer could be filed based upon a lack of understanding by the defendant regarding the nature and meaning of un-translated documents.

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Sources

1. Forwarding authorities (Art. 3(1)): The Director of Courts (i.e. the Central Authority)

 2. Documents intended for residents of the Palestinian Authority
Please note that documents intended for residents of the Palestinian Authority should be forwarded through the Director of Courts. This authority forwards the documents to the Palestinian Authority. In addition:

In addition:

a. The documents are to be translated into Arabic and Hebrew.

b. The request must include the recipient’s full name (four names).

c. The request must include the Identification Number of the recipient.

d. The request must include the full address as far as possible

3. (Art. 5(1)(2)):

4. In the leading precedent which dealt with this matter, C.A. 39/89 General Electric Corp. V. Migdal Insurance Company Ltd., the Israeli court held that an authorized business representative maintains ‘an ongoing business relationship’ with the foreign defendant.

5. For example, an Israeli subsidiary of a foreign company, an Israeli company that manages joint ventures with another foreign company, etc., are all examples of ‘borderline cases where it is difficult to determine whether the courts are dealing with a party that ‘manage the business on behalf of the foreign defendant

6. Most recently, the Israeli Ministry of Justice enacted an amendment to the existing Regulations that immediately entered certain portions of the restated Regulations into force. One specific portion that is applied with immediate effect is the reform of Regulation 500 of the Civil Procedure Regulations, which governs the extraterritorial service of process.

General overview of Regulation 500 and the rules governing extraterritorial service of process Regulation 500 establishes that a litigant seeking to initiate proceedings against a defendant located outside the territorial jurisdiction of the State of Israel must request leave for extraterritorial service of process from the court. Upon the basis of the service of process made under the such authorization, the Israeli courts can acquire jurisdiction over a foreign defendant, thus expanding the scope of their jurisdiction.

7. C.A. 694/86 Ostfeld v. Behiri, PDI 43 (3) 95

8. C.A. 2129/10 Atlas Estates Investment BV v. Stronginfo Consultants Ltd. (8.6.2010).

9. P.C.A 9810/05 Martin J. Hecke v. Pimcapco Limited (30.8.09).

10. Contact persons:

A legal adviser for the Administrator of Courts

Foreign.Countries@court.gov.il

11. Fax: +972 (74) 748 1887

E-mail: Mishpatit@court.gov.il

12. Costs relating to the execution of the request for service (Art. 12):

13. Administration of Courts
Legal Assistance to Foreign Countries
22 Kanfei Nesharin St.
Jerusalem 9546435
Israel

14. Telephone: +972 (74) 748 1836

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