The Ministerial Committee on Legislation is set to debate on Sunday a new bill
that allows volunteers to help new immigrants and poorer citizens with suing
private companies in small claims courts.
Small claims courts are located
in each magistrate’s court and allow citizens to sue anyone for amounts up to
NIS 32,700, or according to the cost-of-living index.
plaintiffs can afford to hire a lawyer to write up a claim to present to the
court, the court does not allow complainants for a lawyer to act in their
While claimants represent themselves in court, the respondent –
usually a private company – often retains in-house counsel, and that employee
represents their company in court.
Consumers may find themselves facing a
qualified and experienced attorney when arguing their case in small claims
New immigrants face particular difficulties, because the small
claims court only permits claimants to present cases in one of Israel’s two
official languages, Hebrew and Arabic. As a result, many consumers refrain from
filing a suit in the small claims court, according to the Israel Consumer
While Courts Administration data shows that Israelis file 44,000
small claims court cases annually, the potential number of claims is far
The proposed bill aims to level the playing field for immigrants
and other weaker social sectors by providing them with free legal help from
trained volunteers, who could assist in presenting their cases to
MK Ze’ev Bielski (Kadima), who sponsored the bill, dubbed the
proposed legislation as “fair and of unparalleled importance.”
“This is a
way to provide assistance to new immigrants, people with various types of
disabilities and those who cannot afford legal assistance,” Bielski
“In addition, I believe that by empowering volunteers, we will help
the court to be more efficient and expedite the legal process that are often
drawn out because of the courts’ tremendous workload.”
The bill would
empower new immigrants who have fallen for real estate, marketing and apartment
rental scams to take legal action, Bielski says.
To assist the
immigrants, the National Council for Voluntarism in Israel (NCVI) has partnered
with the consumer
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