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FAQ: Hague Evidence Convention Issues under Israeli Law

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Is Israel a party to the Hague Evidence Convention?

Yes, Israel has been a party to the convention since 1979.

What is Israel’s “central authority” under the Hague Evidence Convention?

Israel’s central authority under the convention is the Directorate of Courts, 22 Kanfei Nesharim Street, Jerusalem, 95464 Israel.

Has Israel enacted any “blocking” statute?

No.

Has Israel made any declaration under article 23 of the Hague Evidence Convention?

No.

Are there any special procedures under Israeli law regarding the manner in which evidence is taken under the Hague Evidence Convention?

Yes. Under Israel’s Legal Assistance Among States Law (1998), an Israeli court may appoint a private lawyer to oversee the process of gathering evidence.

Will the Israeli Directorate of Courts accept a letter of request that is signed by a private lawyer?

No, in order for Israel’s Directorate of Courts to process a letter of request, the letter must be signed by a judicial official. For these purposes, counsel to a litigant is not a “judicial official.”

Is there any requirement under Israeli law to translate a letter of request into Hebrew?

No, a letter of request in English is acceptable.

How long does it typically take for the Israeli authorities to process/execute on a letter of request under the Hague Evidence Convention?

Because the process involves both the Directorate of Courts and an Israeli court, it should be assumed that the work of the DOC and the court in summoning witnesses will typically take at least six weeks from receipt by the DOC of the signed letter of request.

Does Israeli civil practice include American-style depositions?

Prior to 2021, Israeli civil procedure rules did not include the option of a pre-trial deposition. The rules were amended (effective Jan. 1, 2021) to allow depositions upon the agreement of all parties.

Even prior to 2021, Israeli law has permitted – and continues to permit – American-style depositions in the context of a letter of request under the Hague Evidence Convention.

What kinds of privileges are recognized under Israeli law?

Israeli law as to privilege is similar (but not identical) to the law of many common law countries. These privileges include the attorney-client privilege and the doctor-patient privilege.

Under Israeli law, does a witness have a right to object to an order (or subpoena) issued pursuant to a letter of request under the Hague Evidence Convention?

Yes, and the Israeli witness will typically be permitted to be represented by counsel in raising such objections with the Israeli court.

In Israel are there any court reporters who are licensed in the United States?

Yes.

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