The Tel Aviv District Court recently dismissed a summary procedure claim on the basis of forum non conveniens (ie, discretionary court power to dismiss a case where a more appropriate forum is available). The court ruled that the jurisdictional clauses found in the chain of agreements between the parties clearly pointed to alternative fora. Therefore, in the absence of any indication that the parties intended to grant jurisdiction to the Israeli courts, the court ruled that they were not the proper legal fora.
Israel's pro-arbitration position was recently affirmed by a district court decision refusing to grant injunctive relief that would have the effect of staying International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) arbitration even in the face of foreign insolvency proceedings. The Tel-Aviv District Court rejected a temporary injunction application to prevent an Israeli party from continuing arbitration with the ICC and ordered it to submit claims solely to the South Korean court overseeing the insolvency proceedings.
The Supreme Court recently refused to hear an appeal of a district court decision to enforce an International Chamber of Commerce award in Israel challenged on the grounds of public policy. The Supreme Court supported the district court's determination that a party's agreement to resolve a dispute in accordance with a contractual arbitral provision does not estop it from claiming that the dispute is not governed by the same contract, and that raising such a claim does not constitute bad faith.
The Supreme Court recently reaffirmed its position in favour of staying local proceedings to allow a foreign arbitration to proceed. The court rejected a request to appeal a stay issued by the district court based on a claim under the New York Convention. As a result, the court upheld recent Israeli jurisprudence, whereby the termination of a contract does not necessarily terminate the arbitration agreement contained therein.
The Jerusalem Small Claims Court and the Netanya Small Claims Court both recently dismissed compensation claims for baggage delays, as the passengers did not comply with the Montreal Convention, according to which a complaint must be submitted within 21 days from the date of receipt of the baggage. However, the latter court ordered the airline to cover the plaintiffs' expenses, holding that the plaintiffs had clearly approached the court in good faith and that the airline's conduct had been inappropriate.
The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court recently declined a passenger's claim for bodily injury damages after it concluded that the event which was the subject matter of the claim was not considered to be an 'accident' as defined by the Montreal Convention. The plaintiff had filed a claim against El Al, arguing that he had been injured after eating a cake served to passengers.
The Rehovot Magistrate Court recently ruled that a flight that had departed on time, but been forced to return to the point of departure following a five-hour flight due to technical malfunctions, was a cancelled flight in accordance with the Aviation Services Law. Although there is no binding precedent, the courts have – in lower-instance decisions concerning the law – applied it in cases where the circumstances did not meet the literal interpretation of the law regarding cancelled flights.
The Jerusalem Magistrates Court recently dismissed a claim for bodily injury caused to a passenger during a flight, as the claim had been filed more than two years after the plaintiff had reached his destination. The court referred to the Montreal Convention and the Carriage by Air Law, which provide that the right to a claim will be extinguished after a two-year period, despite the local Limitation Law providing a seven-year limitation period from the date of an admission of liability.
Since 2012 various lower court judgments have held that technical malfunctions which cause delays or cancellations to flights are not considered 'special circumstances' which exempt the carrier from paying the monetary compensation set by the Aviation Services Law. However, the Netanya Small Claims Court recently denied a claim and determined that a technical malfunction in an aircraft which caused a flight delay constituted special circumstances.
The Antitrust Authority recently published a draft amendment to the Restrictive Trade Practices Law for public comment. The amendment proposes a broad reform of the law as regards restrictive arrangements, monopolies and mergers. According to the authority, the amendment aims to decrease the existing regulatory burden that applies to legitimate and efficient practices and strengthen anti-competitive enforcement.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed that Regulation 500(7) of the Civil Procedure Regulations, which concerns court approval for service outside Israel, is not met where the alleged act or omission occurred outside Israel and only the anti-competitive effects are alleged to have taken place in Israel. The court further ruled that the effects doctrine – the governing doctrine for applying local antitrust law to foreign conduct – pertains only to the substantive applicability of such law to foreign conduct.
The antitrust commissioner recently announced her intention to impose unprecedented financial sanctions on several monopolies and market leaders in Israel, as well as some of their senior officers. These announcements indicate that the use of financial sanctions to combat the abuse of a dominant position will likely play a key role in the Israel Antitrust Authority's agenda for the coming years.
The Israel Antitrust Authority recently published draft guidelines on resale price maintenance arrangements, following a Supreme Court decision that fundamentally changed the legal standard applicable to vertical arrangements. The draft guidelines survey the main concerns arising from resale price maintenance arrangements, the competition benefits that they may produce and the general methodology that should be used to analyse such arrangements.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently concluded its initial re-evaluation of its policy on the prohibition on excessive pricing by monopolies and published draft guidelines on the factors that it will consider in enforcing the prohibition. The draft guidelines structure the IAA's decision-making process in enforcing the excessive pricing prohibition and are expected to reduce significantly the number of cases in which the IAA will take action on the grounds of excessive pricing.
The issue of whether an employer can require its employees to record their attendance by biometric fingerprinting was recently extensively discussed and ruled on by the National Labour Court. The court prohibited a municipality from recording attendance by biometric fingerprinting and ruled that fingerprints are a person's private and personal information and enjoy the constitutional and statutory protection afforded to the right of privacy.
The National Labour Court recently ruled that the widow of an employee, who had remarried her former husband on his deathbed, was not entitled to the various social benefits which had accrued to the benefit of the deceased's dependants. The employer refused to compensate the widow for severance pay differentials and the redemption of unused sick leave pay, claiming that such benefits were not part of the estate and that the widow was not a 'spouse' for the purposes of the social benefits claimed.
The issue of fixed-term employment – both in general and in the civil service in particular – raises many legal issues. The Supreme Court of Justice recently had an opportunity to provide a ruling in a case involving judges' legal assistants who were employed under special contracts. The ruling is an example of how the Supreme Court can create or force the legislature or the parties to an employment relationship to create special solutions for employment situations that do not fit conventional models.
Israeli collective labour relations confer a unique status on unions that are considered to be representative unions. According to a recent National Labour Court decision, the recognition of a union's representativeness must be followed by a period of stability in order to give the union and the employer an opportunity to establish a relationship of trust and cooperation. However, if clear indications suggest that the union is no longer representative, the employer may challenge the representativeness.
The Labour Court recently ruled that employers have a duty to inform prospective employees that the job that is offered to them is temporary and could be terminated at the end of a brief period, irrespective of their performance. The court ruled that, in the absence of other information, a candidate is entitled to assume that if he or she carries out the job satisfactorily, in the absence of unforeseen events, he or she can remain in employment indefinitely.
With the aim of increasing competition in the insurance market, the parliamentary finance committee recently approved a proposed Ministry of Finance regulation that will reduce the minimum capital required for a new insurance company, thus enabling new players to enter this confined market. The change in equity requirements is notable and increases the opportunity for new investors to consider establishing insurance activities in Israel.
In a recent Supreme Court case, the insurer argued that it had been known that groundwater existed at a construction site before work commenced. Any damage caused as a result of groundwater was therefore foreseeable and not covered. The insured denied this and claimed that the insurance policy included no exclusion for groundwater damage. The court examined the contract's language to search for the contract's purpose based on the parties' intention before the insurance event.
A recent Tel Aviv Economic District Court case examined the issue of an insured's disclosure duty versus an insurer's obligation to conduct independent investigations. The court determined that an insured has a broad disclosure obligation during the underwriting of a policy, and that an insurance contract is subject to duties of good faith and fairness. Therefore, an insurer is entitled to rely on the information provided to it by an insured and is not obliged to conduct additional independent investigations.
The Central District Court recently declined a jewellers' block policy claim after the insurers proved that the claim had been filed with fraudulent intent. The case concerned an Israeli diamonteer who claimed that $10 million worth of diamonds had been stolen from him under the threat of violence. However, following an investigation by the insurers, it was revealed that a number of the stolen diamonds were still in the claimant's possession after the alleged robbery.
There is a fine line between whether the act or omission of a tortfeasor is covered by a professional indemnity or public liability policy. To complicate the situation in Israel, professional indemnity policies are issued on a claims-made basis and public liability policies on an occurrence basis. The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court recently addressed these matters.