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Can British Law be Enforced in Israel?

A newly published booklet provides solicitors with a practical approach to ensure British legal decisions are accepted in Israel

Increasing commerce between the UK and Israel, interpersonal relationships and the large number of British immigrants in Israel, means that British lawyers must be able to advise their clients how to ensure that judgements given in the UK are valid and recognized in Israel.

Likewise, Israeli lawyers need to understand the practical steps and implications when acting for clients in Israel who may have business or personal matters to deal with in England.

A newly published booklet by Advocate John de Frece, who qualified as a solicitor in England and is a member of the Israel Bar, goes into depth on the updated and amended Foreign Judgements Enforcement Law (FJE) and the Civil Procedure Regulations, amended in 2018.

De Frece states: “It is important for practitioners to be careful at the outset of proceedings not to make procedural errors which might result in the Israeli court rejecting the application for enforcement.”

The booklet, titled The Recognition and Enforcement of a Foreign Judgement in Israel is available as a digital edition via Kindle (£42.00). It analyses each section as interpreted by judgements in Israeli courts, as well as providing the practical techniques for enforcement.

The booklet is intended to provide solicitors with the practical requirements for enforcing a judgement given by a British court, in Israel, according to Adv. de Frece. It clearly outlines the principles of enforcement.

The standards of private international law applicable in Israel are identical to those practiced in all enlightened countries and in particular those in which English common law is applied, Adv. de Frece states.

The basic principles guiding Israeli courts are:

  • The desire to bring to an end litigation which has already been properly concluded in another country.

  • The desire to deal justly with the party which has obtained judgement.

  • The desire to develop mutuality and cooperation with other legal systems.

  • He adds: “The FJE makes a clear distinction between ‘enforcement’ and ‘recognition’”.

  • Enforcement deals with imposing a personal obligation.

  • Recognition deals with matters of property or personal status.

Quoting precedents, de Frece adds: “A foreign ruling imposing a personal liability is intended for enforcement, but a ruling that imposes no personal liability, but merely established status, is simply ‘recognized’.”

The legislative base for enforcing a judgement is the Foreign Judgements Enforcement Law 1958 (hereinafter: FJE) as amended (and the Civil Procedure Regulations of 1982 now replaced by the new Civil Procedure Regulations 2018). The FJE comprises 13 sections. It was originally enacted in 1958 and has twice been substantially amended.

As examples, de Frece defines the scope of the law as: “Foreign judgement” is a judgement given by court in a foreign state in a civil matter, including a judgement for the payment of compensation or damages to an injured party even though it may not have been given in a civil matter. Accordingly the following matters may be dealt with:

  • Monetary judgement

  • Interim and permanent injunctions

  • Specific performance

  • Compensation or damages awarded in a criminal matter

“Thus it is clear that an award for compensation given against a convicted person in a criminal matter can be enforced within the framework of the FJE,” he adds.

The booklet continues with an outline of the Conditions of Enforcement in Israel:

“A court in Israel may declare a foreign judgement enforceable if it finds that:

· The judgement was given in a state the courts of which were, according to its laws, competent to give it and…

· The judgement is no longer appealable and…

· The obligation imposed by the judgement is enforceable according to the laws relating to the enforcement of judgement in Israel and the tenor of the judgement is not contrary to public policy.

· The judgement is executory in the state in which it is given.

There are many more examples and precedents detailing the principles to be applied. In addition, de Frece includes an annex detailing the entire Foreign Judgements Enforcement Law 5718-1958 (as amended).

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