1. Detainees for investigation purposes
Individuals eligible for representation by a public defender:
The Public Defense Act states that individuals detained for investigation purposes that are not represented by a private defense attorney shall be eligible for representation by a public defender if at least one of the following four criteria applies:
a. Lack of financial means
This pertains to eligibility for representation that is dependent on financial circumstances and does not depend on the type of offense for which the suspect has been arrested. Cause for appointing a public defender for detainees that lack financial mean is described in section 18(a)(7) of the Public Defense Act, and criteria for eligibility for financial reasons is defined in the Public Defense Regulations (Representing Needy Defendants) which refer to the Public Defense Ordinance (Representing Needy Defendants). Eligibility for representation for financial reasons during detention for investigation purposes is determined based on two accumulative parameters – income and assets.
If the detainee lives alone or belongs to a family of up to three members at the most, and his income is up to 67% of the average salary as defined by the National Insurance Law.
If the detainee belongs to a family of four or more, and has an income of up to 67% of the average salary plus additional 6% calculated for the fourth family member and so on ("family" includes unmarried life partners living in a single household).
(If the detainee is the head of a family – calculation of income includes the incomes of all dependent family members; if the detainee is dependent on others, the calculated income includes that of the head of the family and all other dependent family members).
Value of assets
The detainee's assets are worth less than three times the average salary in the economy (specific terms apply in the event that the detainee owns an apartment).
b. Eligibility due to a petition to order psychiatric hospitalization or evaluation
According to section 18(a)(2) of the Public Defense Act, in addition to sections 16 and 17 of the Treatment of the Mentally Ill Persons Law, detainees or suspects for whom psychiatric hospitalization or evaluation is requested during their detention or interrogation, are eligible for representation regardless of their financial situation and/or the crime attributed to them.
c. Eligibility for minors
In accordance with section 18(c) of the Public Defense Act in addition to amendment 1(1) of the Public Defense Regulations (Eligibility for Representation for Additional Minors), minor detainees are eligible for public defenders regardless of their financial situation and/or the crime attributed to them.
d. Eligibility by court order
Detainees that are not eligible for representation based on the noted criteria may personally or via a family member, file a request that the court appoint a public defender on their behalf.
The Public Defense Detention Department
Each public defense district office includes a detention department which employs attorneys and administrators as part of the internal staff of the Public Defense Office.
In addition, in order to respond to requests for representation from detainees as quickly and efficiently as possible, the Public Defense Office employs on-call attorneys throughout Israel.
The Detention Department receives notification of requests for representation from detainees and after preliminary inquiries, refers the requests to public defenders on duty who are responsible for visiting the detainees as quickly as possible. The visit is held at the police station or holding facility in which the suspect is detained.
The public defender on-call begins the visit with the detainee by checking eligibility for representation, and once deemed eligible, provides the legal representation required.
Legal representation includes clarifying the detainee's rights, consultation on the investigation process, and collecting information in order to prepare a plea for the court session in which the police will request an extension of remand, if needed.
Public Defense Detention Department Hours
24 hours per day, 7 days per week
Public Defense Detention Department Telephone Numbers
Tel Aviv District
At night (from midnight to 7:30am) and on the weekend (from Friday 3:00pm to Sunday 7:30am) – call 076-5300901
Who informs the Public Defense Office of a request for representation filed by a detainee held for investigation?
Requests for representation by a public defender filed by detainees are forwarded to the public defense offices by the police investigators. In addition, any relative of the detainee may inform the Public Defense Office of the detainee's request for representation. When a detainee asks to consult with a public defender, the police must forward that request to the Public Defense Office without delay.
At what point is a detainee held for investigation entitled to representation by a public defender?
All suspects are entitled to consult with an attorney before being interrogated.
It is very important to consult with a defense attorney as soon as possible, namely before interrogations begin.
Nevertheless, as explained above, the right to consult with a public defender applies only to detainees.
The court has the authority to appoint a public defender at any time, even if the person interrogated has not been detained.
Requests for representation can be submitted by the person being interrogated or by a family member.
Extension of remand
Detainees who are eligible for public defense services shall be represented by a public defender in all court hearings on extension of remand.
If the detainee is not eligible for representation and does not have private counsel, the detainee can file a request, either personally or via a relative, to the court for a public defender.
A detainee that did not meet with a public defender before being brought to court for extension of remand and requests to do as at this point, may contact the public defender that is on-call in court at the time and request to check eligibility for representation. Another option is to request that the court appoint a public defender on the detainee's behalf. This should preferably be done as early as possible and before court hearings commence.
2. Indicted detainees for whom remand until the end of procedures has been requested
According to section 18(a)(3) of the Public Defense Act, when requesting remand until the end of legal procedures for a detainee in accordance with section 21 of the Criminal Procedure Act (Enforcement Authorities - Arrests) and the detainee does not have a defense attorney, or has not declared interest in representation, the court shall appoint a defense attorney on his behalf.
Justification for appointing a public defender for a detainee for which remand has been requested until the end of procedures does not depend on the type of offense committed or the detainee's financial circumstances. When remand until the end of legal procedures is requested for a detainee that does not have private counsel or has not indicated desire for representation, a public defender shall be appointed.
A court decision to appoint a public defender to represent a detainee remanded until end of procedures shall be submitted to the Public Defense Detention Department in order to appoint a suitable defense attorney as soon as the court ruling is made.
The public defender shall learn all of the evidential material that pertains to the detainee, meet the detainee at the holding facility shortly after being appointed by the Public Defense Office, consider possible alternative to detention, and represent the detainee in the next court hearing on the request for extension of remand until the end of procedures.