Increase in fees for West Bank & Gaza Palestinians petitioning Israeli Supreme Court is illegal

Court fee to rise from 1,794 to 5,400 shekels; Israeli plan intended to reduce number of petitions filed by Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories to Supreme Court.

Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel has sent a letter to senior Israeli officials demanding they reject a proposal to increase the court fees charged to Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza or their proxies for filing petitions to the Israeli Supreme Court.


The declared purpose of the proposal is to reduce the number of petitions filed by Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip to the Israeli Supreme Court. Under the plan, the fee for filing a petition would increase from 1,794 shekels (approx. $515 US) to 5,400 shekels (approx. $1,550 US).


In her letter sent on 28 November 2017 to Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Chairman of the Knesset's Constitution Committee Nissan Slomiansky, and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Adalah Attorney Muna Haddad argued that the proposed fee hike would violate the basic rights of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories:


"This [proposal] harms the fundamental right of Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories to access the judicial system. This economic burden is heavy and places a serious obstacle that will block this population's access to the courts."


Attorney Haddad also stressed the racist character of the proposal:


"The proposed plan harms the principle of equality before the law. It is every person's right to a remedy through open access to the courts without having to face unreasonable and discriminatory obstacles. This is the right of every individual; it is not limited to citizens and it is a necessary condition for the existence of other basic rights. This is a racist article and it harms the constitutional right to dignity of those seeking to appeal to the court against violations of their most basic rights."


Further, the court fee hike is a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, which obligates states to ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms are violated has an effective remedy.