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.
Under the Aviation Services Law (Compensation and Assistance for Flight Cancellation or Change of Conditions), passengers who are denied boarding are entitled to compensation. However, in two recent district court judgments concerning passengers that were denied boarding, the courts found that passengers must arrive at the boarding gate on time. As this duty had not been fulfilled in either case, the airlines were not obliged to pay compensation.
The Beit Shean Small Claims Court recently declined a claim for compensation under the Aviation Services Law due to a delayed flight. The plaintiff had booked a return flight from Tel Aviv to Amsterdam with Arkia Airlines, which arrived in Amsterdam late after a nine-and-a-half-hour delay due to a technical fault. The court dismissed the claim and found that Arkia had proved that the technical malfunction had been caused by a fault in the aircraft's wing shelving, which had been beyond the airline's control.
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 Law for the Reduction of Cash Use, which came into force on 1 January 2019, imposes certain restrictions on the use of cash and cheques that do not name the payee. The law aims to reduce cash transactions in an effort to fight financial crime and money laundering and foster the use of more modern and efficient payment methods. Violation of the law may constitute a criminal offence, resulting in financial penalties and imprisonment.
The Corporate Finance Department at the Israel Securities Authority recently issued its Staff Legal Bulletin on dual-listed companies. The bulletin is a summary of the most up-to-date information on the issuance, reporting, listing and delisting of dual-listed companies and is intended to clarify and reflect these processes for dual-listed companies and companies considering dual listing.
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 January 2019 Parliament passed a comprehensive amendment to the Economic Competition Law 1988. Among other things, the amendment introduced an alternative definition of a 'monopoly' based on a market power test rather than market share and significantly increased the maximum cap for monetary administrative penalties which can be levied on corporations. To put the new rules into practice, the Israel Competition Authority recently published draft guidelines on both of these matters.
Parliament recently passed an amendment to the Economic Competition Law that represents its most significant overhaul since its enactment in 1988. The amendment covers nearly all of the law's substantial chapters and affects the regulation of restrictive arrangements, the merger control regime, the regulation of monopolies and criminal and administrative enforcement measures.
The Israel Competition Authority recently published amended versions of the Block Exemption for Ancillary Restraints in Mergers and the Block Exemption for Joint Ventures. The amended block exemptions intend to lower the regulatory burden imposed on businesses and enable the fast implementation of efficient arrangements by expanding the use of block exemptions.
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.