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 Tel Aviv Small Claims Court recently declined a passenger's claim for compensation against Qantas and Worldwide Travel and Tourism Ltd, concluding that as the flight in question was a domestic flight within New Zealand, Israeli law did not apply. The court stated that a 'flight operator' is defined in Clause 1 of the Aviation Services Law as an operator that operates flights to and from Israel. Therefore, the law does not apply when connecting flights to Israel are operated by a different airline.
The Tel Aviv Magistrates Court recently declined a passenger's claim that Turkish Airlines should compensate him for being denied boarding. The court concluded that the plaintiff had failed to arrive at the departure gate on time and that he had known, or should have known, the final boarding time for passengers.
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.
An inter-ministerial committee was recently set up to promote the establishment of publicly traded funds for investment in infrastructure. The committee was formed to examine and recommend measures and actions that would encourage the establishment of traded infrastructure funds in order to increase the availability of financing sources for infrastructure projects, reduce the financial costs of these projects and enable small investors to directly participate and own these projects.
The Supreme Court recently confirmed that the liability for breaches of reporting obligations in the secondary market by dual-listed companies is governed by the securities laws of the foreign trading jurisdiction. The governing law with respect to the liability of a dual-listed company's external auditors is also the law of the foreign jurisdiction in which the company's shares are traded.
The Israeli Securities Law was recently amended with the goal of making the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) more competitive, efficient and profitable, by changing its ownership structure. This change of ownership structure will allow private investors, in addition to institutional investors, to acquire means of control over TASE. This can be viewed as a privatisation of sorts, as TASE is Israel's only stock exchange and is widely viewed as a national asset.
Israel has seen a growing trend in debt initial public offerings by US and Canadian real estate companies with income-producing real estate, as well as in the listing of the bonds for trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. In recent years, more than 30 such real estate companies have completed public debt offerings in Israel, the large majority of which were initial public offerings.
In recent years, parallel and private imports have become an important factor in the public debate surrounding the cost of living in Israel. The level of competition (and ultimately prices) in many product markets is heavily dependent on imports. The recent amendment to the Restrictive Trade Practices Law aims to provide the antitrust commissioner with the authority to prevent conduct by official importers that may hinder competition from parallel and private imports.
The Israel Antitrust Authority (IAA) recently published the Antitrust Rules (Joint Loans Block Exemption) 2018. The exemption deals with loans extended jointly by a number of financial institutions to a single business borrower and provides a more formal and broader framework than the IAA's previous policy of periodic public opinions, which exempted consortium arrangements from restrictive enforcement under certain conditions.
The Israel Antitrust Authority recently published a draft amendment to the Vertical Block Exemption for public comment. The amendment aims to expand the substantive self-assessment of vertical arrangements and was published as a response to Supreme Court rulings which called for a more lenient approach to vertical arrangements and practitioner criticism of the current exemption. The amendment reflects a more general trend in Israeli antitrust law towards a substantive self-assessment regime.
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 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.