Tag Archives: עו”ד

Recent acquittals

Worked hard to get these clients off. We know that acquittals are rare in Israel (see https://lawinisrael.wordpress.com/2013/05/13/why-is-the-conviction-rate-in-criminal-courts-in-israel-so-very-high).

זיכוי של השופטים יפה-כץ, צלקובניק וואגו

זיכוי של השופטת ש’ חביב

Article published in Bar Magazine Feb 2011 – מאמר “גילוי נאות”, ביטאון לשכת עורכי הדין מחוז דרום

This is an article I had published in the Israel Bar Magazine, “Giluy Naot” of February 2011. I discussed a way of increasing court efficiency in criminal trials and cutting down the amount of time the accused are held under arrest.

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Article in "Giluynaot" Feb 2011 p 1

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Article in "Giluynaot" Feb 2011 p 2

Nuri Elugbi נורי אלעוקבי

כתב האישום אשר הוגש נגד חברינו נורי אלעוקבי (למטה בשני חלקים) הוא מעניין לא רק עקב גודלו. חסן “נורי” אלעוקבי ידוע כפעיל לזכויות הבדואים. הוא חי בשטח שהוא טוען לבעלותו כבר כמה שנים על אף מאמציה של המשטרה, קק”ל וכו’ לגרש אותו ממנו. השלב הבא במאבק הוא כתב האישום וכן בקשה למעצרו של נורי. אני מייצג אותו כסניגור חיצוני של הסנגוריה הציבורית בדרום. מטרת המעצר האמיתית. אינה כדי למנוע כביכול עבריינות. המטרה היא לנשל את נורי ובני משפחת אלעוקבי מירושתם דהיינו כדי שהמדינה תנכס לעצמה את השטח השייך באופן חוקי למשפחת אלעוקבי. מעצר איננו האמצעי לפעולה כזו להלן מסמכים הקשורים לדיון עד כה כולל החלטת השחרור.

Nuri Elugbi is well known for his long-standing fight for the rights of his family to its land. He has lived on the disputed land for many years although the state has tried its utmost to remove him. Nuri was arrested yesterday by the Rahat police. The police have charged him with trespassing and damage to property. The charges make no sense as the land is his, or is at least disputed. Nuri is almost 70 and has heart problems and should not be arrested.

Do I Need a Notary?

Do I Need a Notary?

A notary public is a legal officer who can witness and authenticate documents and signatures. For the purposes of authentication, many countries require commercial or personal documents which originate from,  or are signed in, another country to, be notarised. Notaries in Israel must be Israeli lawyers of 10 years seniority, with no criminal record, no complaints against them at the Israel Bar and must have undergo a one day training course. In some countries, notably the USA, notaries are not lawyers.

Do I need a notary? The answer to that question is usually “no. Actually people often do not bother asking the question and, I suspect, end up paying for a service they do not need! Rarely will an Israeli need, or an Israeli official office demand notarisation of a document or signature. Exceptions are: pre-nuptial agreements, wills, irrevocable powers-of-attorney and powers-of-attorney to a non-lawyer. If you are American or need something from American officialdom the answer will probably beyes. For some reason the US authorities (and US banks and other institutions) like to have various documents and signatures notarised. For example, when President Richard Nixon resigned he had his resignation letter notarised! You cannot have a US notary notarise a document or signature in Israel, because, as I understand it, US notaries can only act in the US state that they are licensed for. On the other hand notarisations are inherently international. So, if you are an American (or other nationality), and you need a document or signature notarised, certified or legalised in Israel for Israel or for abroad – you must go to an Israeli notary (unless you can be bothered to go to the US or other consulate).

Apostille is a French word which means certification. It is commonly used in English to refer to the legalisation of a document for international use under the terms of the 1961 Hague Convention, an international treaty that abolished the requirement of legalisation for foreign public documents (that previously might have had to be done at a consulate or the Foreign Office where the notary acted). So nowadays documents which have been notarised by a notary public and then certified with an apostille are accepted for legal use in all the nations that have signed the Hague Convention (this is most western countries, including Israel, the USA, the UK, but not Canada nor Australia). In Israel the apostille is a sticker, stuck on the back of the notary’s certificate and signed at most Magistrates’ Courts by the chief clerk. This service is no longer free and one must pay 30 NIS in stamp duty for it. The apostille just authenticates the notary’s work.

There is a fixed tariff set by the Israel Ministry of Justice for notarial services (click here, sorry in Hebrew). For other services provided by a notary (including translations, drafting affidavits and getting that apostille) the fee is set by the notary and the client (do not go to a lawyer without reading my article on this).

Law in Israel

שאול דיוויס עו”ד

How Much Do Israeli Lawyers Charge?

How Much Do Israeli Lawyers Charge?

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The answer is complex. Depends mostly on (a) what sort of case it is and; (b) who the lawyer and the client are. Let us go through this briefly.

Non-financial cases are usually fixed price. This will include administrative petitions (to the Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice “Bagats”), injunctions and other non-quantifiable cases. Difficult to say how much you should spend – anything between 1,000 sheqel per court appearance to thousands of sheqel for the whole case.

Criminal cases are also non-financial. There is a rule that a lawyer may not receive a fee in a criminal case contingent upon the result ie acquittal. The highest fees can be as much as 500,000 sheqel the lowest can be as little as 1,000 sheqel. For a regular case involving work which will include reading the evidence, a few court appearances, a meeting at the prosecution eg a small drugs case or not too serious domestic violence expect to pay +/- 20,000 sheqel.

Personal injury, including traffic and work accidents are generally a percentage, +/- 15% is acceptable. But by law traffic cases must be 8, 11 or13% (if settled before getting to court, settled in court or full judgement, respectively).

Other financial cases, labour claims or breach of contract including consumer claims, will often be mixed. Expect to pay some money up front and then a percentage of the win; about 10-20% is normal or even 30% if there is no money upfront. Often there is a separate fee for court appearances. Some lawyers take a non-returnable fee which is an advance on the win.

Another factor is the lawyer’s evaluation of your chances of winning – a higher percentage if the lawyer thinks you have good chances, more up front if bad! Lawyers must charge their expenses and VAT separately. Most lawyers waive simple expenses like postage or paper, some expenses can be substantial like doctors’ reports or foreign travel and you will be charged for these.

That leaves non-contentious (no court) cases, mostly drafting contracts and giving legal advice. For a contract for the buying or selling of land, expect to pay about 1/2% of the value of the property. This is very negotiable! Always bargain. If the lawyer represents both sides then he or she will ask for 3/4%, again you need to haggle. For rental contracts lawyers often take about 50% of one month’s rent, this is also negotiable.

For commercial and other contracts, lawyers charge about 2% of the value of the contract, this percentage will go down as the contract is of higher value (because the amount of work involved is the same).

General legal advice, written or not, depends a lot on the lawyer: 500 NIS to 5,000 NIS is a rough estimate. Proper written legal counsel, should be more expensive.

Remember: legal advice is only worth the money you spend. Pay cheap you get cheap. Be wary of cut price lawyers, They are not worth the saving. Traditionally Israeli lawyers quoted prices in US dollars but this is less fashionable. Remember that your lawyer’s price tag will rarely include VAT, currently at 15.5%. Always check if VAT is included or not.

Look here for the Bar’s recommendation for the minimal tariff (thought to be over-priced now). Never take on a lawyer or pay any money at all unless you are given a written fee agreement, this is most important but unfortunately not compulsory. I am a member of the South District Ethics Committee and I see the messes lawyers make because there was no fee agreement!

Law in Israel

שאול דיוויס עו”ד

“shtar hov” or “cheque bitahon”

A shtar hov שטר חוב is a deed or bill that is a bit like a cheque but contains more details. There are 2 types: with or without the details of the maker/payer’s bank account. You can get one at the post office for a few sheqel or download one for free on the web. The ones on the web can be edited to add or subtract the bank details. Not sure what the post office ones contain. The beneficiary/payee (typically a landlord) can cash the shtar hov at a bank if it contains the maker/payer’s bank details, or he will have to go to “Hotsah lafoal”  הוצאה לפועל if it does not have the bank details.

A cheque bitahon שיק ביטחון is an ordinary cheque upon which is written “cheque bitahon” or “שיק ביטחון” or “security cheque”. Usually the date and sum are left blank. The beneficiary/payee (usually a landlord) can cash the cheque bitahon at a bank.

To cash the shtar hov or the cheque bitahon the payee does NOT need the prior permission of the maker of the shtar or cheque or a court order. A nice bank clerk might telephone the maker of the cheque or shtar before it is cashed, to give him time to cancel it, but do not rely on this!

Very important to note that above is a rough outline. The exact details are a matter for negotiation between the parties (eg tenant and landlord) and will be subject to their contractual relationship. In other words, if you are going to give a shtar hov or a cheque bitahon make sure that the circumstances that they can be used are stated clearly somewhere in writing (usually this will be in a contract).

Law in Israel

שאול דיוויס עו”ד