A class action is a lawsuit in which one person sues on behalf of a group of people, where the cause of action for which he is suing is a cause of action that also exists with respect to the same group that he represents. Generally, a class action lawsuit is filed on consumer issues (price misleading, misleading the quality of the product being sold), issues related to the environment, insurance, banking, antitrust, securities, and more.
In Israel, a request to approve a class action is filed by virtue of the Class Actions act that was enacted in 2006. This act prescribes the causes of the claim by virtue of which an application to approve a class action can be filed. This is a closed list of causes of action, where a class action cannot be filed on any grounds.
According to the class action act, the objectives of class actions are the exercise of the right of access to the court, including to population who have difficulty approaching the court as individuals; Enforcement of the law and deterrence against its violation; The provision of adequate relief to victims of the violation; effective, fair and exhaustive management of claims. Through class actions, the power gaps between the small citizen and large entities are reduced.
For the court to approve a request for approval of a class action, the class action plaintiff must prove that:
- The claim raises material questions of fact or trial common to all the members of the group and there is a reasonable possibility that they will be decided in the class action in favor of the group;
- A class action is the most efficient and fair way to decide a dispute in the circumstances of the case;
- There is a reasonable basis to assume that the interest of all members of the group will be represented and managed in an appropriate manner; The defendant is not entitled to appeal a decision in this matter;
- There is a reasonable basis to assume that the interest of all members of the group will be represented and managed in good faith.
When the court approves a claim as a class action, any person who fits the definition of the group in whose name the claim was filed may consider himself one of the plaintiffs. The newspapers publish information about the approval of a claim as a class action, so the general public can learn about the possibility of joining the lawsuit in case it concerns him. A person may also decide not to join the group so that the judgment given in the class action will not apply to him.
As is well known, filing a claim normally involves paying a fee to the court according to the amount of the claim or remedy requested. Until about a year ago, filing a class action was exempt from paying a fee.
In April 2018, an amendment to the Court Fees Regulations came into force, stipulating that filing a request for approval would be subject to payment of a fee according to the court to which the request for approval is filed:
- A request for approval of a class action filed to Magistrate’s Court (a claim for up to 2.5 million NIS) involves the payment of a fee of 3,036 NIS and if the request for approval is rejected, the class action plaintiff must pay an additional 5,059 NIS (a total fee of 8,095 NIS).
- A request for approval of a class action in the District Court (a claim in excess of 2.5 million NIS) involves the payment of a fee of 5,566 NIS and if the request for approval is rejected, the class action plaintiff must pay an additional 10,625 NIS (a total fee of 16,191 NIS).
The legislator determined that requests for approval about accessibility & rights of persons with disabilities, the prohibition of discrimination in the provision of goods and services, and environmental hazards are exempt from payment of a fee. It can be seen that the legislator is interested in encouraging the public to file class actions in social matters, thereby turning the class actions into an instrument to create social improvement.
Our firm specializes in filing class actions in general, and class actions in the field of accessibility and rights of people with disabilities and environmental protection in particular. If you have been violated by a public authority, a commercial company or any other large entity, you are welcome to contact our firm.