The question of how to file a lawsuit does not necessarily have one and only answer, because it depends, among other things, to which court the lawsuit is filed, what is the subject of the lawsuit, what is the amount of the lawsuit, etc. At the same time, it is possible to find a common denominator for most lawsuits filed in Israel, and this article will detail what should be done in order to significantly increase the chances of the lawsuit being successful in court.
It is important to understand that you should know very well how to file a lawsuit because filing a statement of claim in the wrong way may lead to you being forced to submit a request to amend a statement of claim , and this may greatly delay the procedure and oblige you, as plaintiffs, with court costs (because the defendant will then have to submit a revised statement of defense , and this will make him to waste time and resources).
Another thing that is important to pay attention to is the subject of the remedies you wish to claim. Let's say, for example, that someone owes you a million shekels. It is not possible to file one claim for NIS 300,000 and then another claim for NIS 700,000. If you do not know how to file a lawsuit, you may make a mistake in this essential matter. The rule is that all possible remedies must be claimed in one lawsuit . The exception to the rule is when the court approves the splitting of remedies (a rare matter when it comes to financial benefits).
Before asking how to file a lawsuit you should understand what preparation you need to do
Collecting data and evidence
One of the most common errors is that many plaintiffs "run" to court without proper due diligence. This is exactly the reason why many requests are submitted to amend pleadings when the procedure is already underway in court. Before you ask yourself how to file a lawsuit, ask what I need to prepare or concentrate in order to succeed in the claim.
If it is a claim based on a breach of agreement , make sure you have the full agreement. If the agreement has appendices, make sure you also have all the appendices.
If you intend to file a claim based on any statement or publication (very common in defamation claims), you must make sure that you have a copy of that publication or a recording that proves that the words were indeed said. Without this data there may be no reason to ask how to file a claim, because without this data there is no chance that your claim will be successful.
If your claim is based on witnesses, you should make sure that the witnesses do remember the event like you do. Under these circumstances, it is also advisable to obtain a statement from the witnesses even before filing a financial claim or a civil claim , because between the time the claim is filed and the time the actual testimony is given, a very long time may pass, and the witnesses on your behalf may forget essential details.
If you are asking yourself how to file a class action lawsuit, this step is particularly important for you, because in the framework of a request for the approval of a class action lawsuit, all documents/evidence/affidavits must be attached to the application for approval of a class action lawsuit. This procedure is different from filing pleadings in most other lawsuits, with the exception of a fast-track lawsuit .
Is it worth sending a warning letter before filing a lawsuit?
First, it is important to know that in the vast majority of cases there is no obligation to send a warning letter before filing a lawsuit (with the exception of a claim for a fixed amount ), but sending a warning letter may serve you in most cases, and may even help you obtain data/evidence that you did not have.
Second, it is important to know that the recipient is not obligated to respond to your warning letter before filing a claim within the time period you allotted in the letter, or at all. Theoretically, the recipient can throw the letter in the trash, and in a significant number of cases, this will not change the court's position in any way, if in the end a lawsuit is filed by you.
Sending a warning letter has several advantages:
- It is possible that the recipient will agree to your requirements in full or in part, and this may lead to you not having to continue thinking about how to file a claim.
- It is possible that the recipient will provide you with data/documents that you did not know existed at all, and this will help you prepare the statement of claim in a better and more correct way.
- If the addressee does not respond and your claim is rejected in court, this may help you avoid court costs, because you can claim that if the defendant had bothered to reply to the letter and detailed to you the facts he detailed in court, it is possible that you would not have considered filing your claim at all.
How to file a lawsuit and to which court?
What is the requested remedy?
Most of you probably know that in Israel there are different courts:
- Small Claims Court – authorized to hear claims up to NIS 36,500 (the amount is slightly updated every year).
- The Magistrate's Court – authorized to hear claims up to NIS 2.5 million.
- The district court is authorized to hear claims over NIS 2.5 million.
- The Supreme Court – you cannot file a lawsuit in this court. The Supreme Court serves as an appeals court or as a high court of justice.
In order to understand which court to submit your claim to, you need to understand the amount of the claim you intend to claim. If you intend to file a claim for the amount of NIS 33,000, you can file the claim with a small claims court or the magistrate's court (in such a case, each court has its own advantages and disadvantages).
At the same time, you will not be able to file a lawsuit for the granting of an injunction or a restraining order or a garnishment order to a small claims court because this court does not have the authority to discuss these remedies, even if the amount of the claim does not exceed NIS 34,000.
Preparation of a statement of claim
A statement of claim is the document in which the plaintiff details the main facts relevant to the case (in the vast majority of cases there is no obligation to list all the data, and it should also be taken into account that there is a page limit for statements of claim that are submitted to the magistrate or district court, and this in accordance with the provisions of the civil procedure regulations ) .
The plaintiff must specify in the statement of claim his details and the details of the defendant, as they appear in the Ministry of the Interior/Population Authority. The plaintiff must also indicate the defendant's ID number , and this can be obtained by physically contacting the Ministry of the Interior or by submitting a query through the website of the Population Authority.
If you do not specify the details of the defendant, you may find that you have conducted an idle process , because even if you win the claim, and the defendant does not pay, you will not be able to open an enforcement case against him, because the details of the defendant, as they appeared in the statement of claim, will turn out to be incorrect/do not match the correct details.
The plaintiff must demand in the statement of claim all the remedies he wishes to receive . In the vast majority of cases, the court will not award the plaintiff any relief that he did not claim (did not specify in the statement of claim). In these cases, the plaintiff will have to amend the statement of claim if he wants to add another remedy to his list of remedies.
How to file a lawsuit online or at the court's office?
The question of how to submit a small claim via the Internet has a simple answer. The judicial authority has published a guide on how to file a small claim online (click on the link) and without going to court. This is a simple guide with pictures and explanations, and all you need is to follow the steps.
If you still decide to file a lawsuit through the court's secretariat, you will have to come to the secretariat with two copies for the court, one additional copy for the defendant (or several copies if there are several defendants), and another copy for you on which you will receive a "accepted" stamp (certification that the statement of claim has been submitted in practice at the court's secretariat).
Please note – when filing a financial claim you will have to pay a court fee. The amount of the fee is 2.5% of the amount of the claim. When submitting the statement of claim you will have to pay half of the fee (1.25%), and before the hearing of the evidence you will have to pay the balance (another 1.25%).
If you intend to file a small claim – the fee is 1% of the amount of the claim, but not less than NIS 50.
What should you know before considering how to file a lawsuit?
Before you start looking into how to file a lawsuit, you should know that managing a claim is not a cheap business and takes a lot of time. The higher the amount of damage caused to you, and you are considering filing a claim for a higher amount, the more likely the procedure will be more complex and more expensive.
You must take into account that in complex lawsuits, attorney's fees are expected to be significant. In most cases you will have to pay the fee in advance. Sometimes the lawyer's fees are expected to reach tens of thousands of shekels, and in exceptional cases even more.
In addition, you must take into account the court fee. The higher the claim amount, the higher the fee.
Expenses throughout the legal process should also be taken into account. For example: it may be necessary to submit an expert opinion . This is at least another few thousand shekels that you will have to pay. Also, you may need to call witnesses . This also has costs.
You should take into account that you may also lose the lawsuit. In such a case, the court may impose legal costs on you . In the event that you lose at trial, there is a likelihood that you will consider filing an appeal . In this case, there are many additional costs involved.
Bottom line, before considering how to file a lawsuit, you should examine whether you have the financial ability to manage a claim in court. The more complex the claim, the more likely you will have to invest more money in the procedure.
Before asking how to file a lawsuit, you should understand that there is a lot of preparatory work before the claim that must be done in order to increase the chances of success. You must collect documents/evidence/recordings in order to understand how to correctly draft a statement of claim, and on what data you can base your claims in court.
Filing a statement of claim without proper and proper preparation may lead to you being forced to submit a request to amend the statement of claim during the administration of the claim. This will lead to you having to pay court costs to the defendant and the procedure will almost return to the starting point, which means that you will inevitably lose valuable time.
As long as you are considering filing a claim for a significant amount of damage (more than NIS 100,000), it is highly advisable to use the services of an experienced claims lawyer , and in the case of a class action, an experienced class action lawyer .