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Reimbursement of Attorney’s Fees in Proceedings with the Israeli Ministry of Interior

Joshua Pex
Joshua Pex

Receiving reimbursement of attorney’s fees in proceedings with the Israeli Ministry of Interior is important for Israeli citizens and foreign spouses. Obtaining legal status in Israel for foreign citizens is a lengthy legal procedure that is executed before the Israeli Ministry of Interior, who may make it difficult for foreign citizens to obtain legal status in Israel. As a result, foreign citizens and their Israeli family members who deal with the Interior Ministry are forced to seek the assistance of a lawyer specializing in immigration to Israel. An immigration lawyer helps to shorten the procedure and make it more efficient, especially if there is a need to make an appeal outside the Ministry of Interior, to the court system.

Attorney fees are, to say the least, not cheap. At our law firm, which deals extensively with immigration to Israel, clients often want to know: “Will we get our money back if we succeed in the proceedings with the Ministry of Interior?” Our law offices in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem helps clients obtain legal status in Israel with the Israeli Ministry of Interior and the Population and Immigration Authority. Lawyer Joshua Pex explains here under what circumstances it is possible to be reimbursed for payments made to an attorney for his work with the immigration authorities in Israel.Reimbursement of Attorney's Fees in Proceedings with the Israeli Ministry of Interior

Payment of Attorney’s Fees for Assistance in Proceedings with the Immigration Authorities in Israel

Arranging legal status with the immigration authorities in Israel is handled at your local Ministry of Interior branch. If the initial application is rejected, an appeal may be filed with the central headquarters of the Population and Immigration branch in Jerusalem. Attorney’s fees are determined by mutual agreement between the client and attorney. It is important to understand that all payments made for assistance with the initial application appeal will not be refunded to clients.

For example, a visa for a foreign spouse married to an Israeli citizen is initially denied by the local branch that received the application. The couple may turn to an attorney for assistance, sign a power of attorney and a fee agreement, and pay the attorney for his work. If, after the attorney’s assistance in filing an appeal against the decision, the authority decides to grant the requested visa in accordance with the Interior Ministry procedure, the fee paid by the client to the lawyer for preparing the appeal will not be refunded to the client.

Reimbursement of Fees After Receiving the Court Judgment

Legal proceedings before the Israeli Ministry of Interior to obtain legal status in Israel for foreign citizens, in accordance with the Entry into Israel Law, or in accordance with the Citizenship Law or the Law of Return, do not always end with an appeal to the Ministry of Interior in Jerusalem. Clients are sometimes forced to go to the competent courts to assert their rights under the law. The appeals court under the Entry into Israel Law, the district court sitting as an administrative court, the Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice (Bagatz), and the Entry to Israel Law Review Tribunal are the courts that deal with issues of immigration and legal status.

In proceedings of an administrative appeal or an appeal before the tribunal, which end in a judgment of the court in favor of the appellants, the court will generally adjudicate costs in favor of the petitioners. However, the amount of the expenses is not based on the fees actually paid to the lawyer; it is usually a significantly lower amount. It is also important to understand that losing the legal proceeding may result in the client being forced to recompense the Interior Ministry for their expenses.

Receiving Reimbursement of Attorney’s Fees After the Israeli Ministry of Interior Seeks to Strike Out the Petition

There are situations in which clients are forced to pay attorney’s fees to file a petition or administrative appeal to the relevant courts, but shortly after filing the application in court, the Ministry of Interior decides to give the petitioners the relief that they sought in the first place. This decision is usually made by the Ministry of Interior after legal advisors decide that the petition has a high chance of success in court. In such situations, giving the requested relief makes the appeal superfluous, since there is nothing left to discuss at court once the relief has been given.

In such cases, the courts have set a number of criteria for reimbursement of attorney’s fees. First, the court examines whether the relief sought was granted after, not before, the appeal was filed. Second, the court examines whether filing the application was justified; that is, whether the appeal to the court was fundamentally correct and just. Third, the court examines whether exhaustion of proceedings was conducted vis-a-vis the Ministry of Interior. The appellants are required to prove that they did not hurry to go to court, but tried to turn directly to the Ministry of Interior in an attempt to get an answer in their case before going to court.

Fourth, the court asks for proof of the absence of delay in initiating the proceedings; that is, proof that the Ministry of Interior was given a reasonable time to make a decision in their case. Fifth, and usually most importantly, the court asks for proof that the initiation of the legal proceedings before the court by the petitioners is what motivated the Ministry of Interior to decide in the matter of the appellants and / or to provide the relief sought in the proceedings.

Lawyers Specializing in Immigration to Israel

If you have any questions about getting reimbursement for attorney’s fees, contact us and we will be happy to talk. Our firm deals with immigration to Israel, Israeli citizenship for foreign spouses, obtaining legal status with the Ministry of Interior, and any procedure with the immigration authorities in Israel. Contact lawyers who specialize in the field as soon as possible.

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