The ongoing global outbreak and spread of novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a dramatic event of global proportions, with far-reaching implications for a wide range of areas. The spread of COVID-19 directly affects many aspects of commerce and business – both domestic and international. Contract law in Israel provides several tools for dealing with such situations, including the doctrine of frustration, force majeure clauses, 'approximate' or 'cy-pres' performance and consumer protection legislation.
The legal and competitive implications of minority shareholdings between competitors are beginning to gain greater attention in Israel. In two recent cases, the court balanced the intentions of an amendment to the Companies Law that grants minority shareholders particular protection against concerns that when a minority shareholder is also a competitor of the company, it could use such power to harm competition.
The interpretation of agreements is a well-established phenomenon in any legal system. The Supreme Court has recently reinstated the policy that whenever parties' intentions are drafted through a written agreement, its literal meaning should prevail; only in cases where there is ambiguity in such meaning should extrinsic evidence be sought in an attempt to determine the parties' intention from potential literal meanings.
Since the enactment of the Israeli Companies Act in 1999, corporate governance principles have developed throughout the world. Recent amendments to the Companies Act are the result of the implementation of principles of corporate governance in Israeli legislation. The amendments contribute to the implementation of customary corporate governance principles in line with the rest of the world.
The new Companies Law greatly improves derivative and class action mechanisms. These actions assist parties in achieving substantive rights and enforcing the obligations imposed on officers and directors of corporations.