The duty to pay fees for representation by the Public Defense
As of April 26, 2012, all adult defendants and appellants in criminal cases must pay a fee for the representation provided to them by the Public Defense, in accordance with the Public Defense Regulations (Payment Obligation of Persons Entitled to Representation) (Temporary Order), 2011.
An adult defendant or appellant who has been appointed a public defender to represent him must pay a fee according to the following amounts:
- Defendant in the District Court – NIS 1,235
- Defendant in another court – NIS 450; and if the prosecutor who signed the indictment is an attorney from the State Attorney's Office – NIS 618
- Appellant in the Supreme Court – NIS 1,235
- Appellant in the District Court – NIS 450
The obligation applies to defendants and appellants only. No fee is imposed when the State is the appellant or in other proceedings, such as representation in remand proceedings, representation in prisoner petitions and representation before a parole board.
At present, the fee may be paid in cash in most district only via the Postal Bank. Defendants and appellants may pay the fee online in the Southern District only via this website.
We are working so that in the future it will also be possible to pay the fees through the Government Online Payment Service in other districts as well.
It is important to know that the duty to pay is completely separated from the right to representation. Defendants and appellants who will not pay the fee will continue to be represented by an attorney from the Public Defender's Office and the court hearings will be held on schedule. However, disregarding the payment obligation will lead to a debt that will be collected by the Fees and Fines Collection Center of the Courts Administration. Collection by the Center could involve the payment of collection expenses, interest and linking. To avoid future trouble, it is recommended to pay the fee on time. In the appropriate cases, a request can be submitted to the Public Defender's Office for exemption from or for rescheduling or deferral of the payment.
Fee payment times
Defendants and appellants are required to pay the fee by the date specified on the payment voucher and within 60 days from the date of appointment of a public defender.
Transfer of debt collection to the Fees and Fines Collection Center
If a client fails to pay the fee by the date specified in the regulations, a debt is recorded against him. If the final deadline for payment passes and no request for exemption or relief from payment has been submitted, notice of the debt is sent to the Fees and Fines Collection Center, which then becomes responsible for its collection. After the transfer to the Fees and Fines Collection Center, clients needing to defer or reschedule the debt must address an appropriate request to the Collection Center.
In exceptional cases, the Public Defender's Office will handle debt cancellation requests even after the collection process by the Collection Center has started.
Exemption from payment, rescheduling or deferral of payment
Clients who have difficulty paying the fee can apply to the Public Defender's Office for relief from payment. The Public Defender's Office is authorized to grant a partial exemption, to reschedule the payment or to defer the payment deadline, and in cases of special financial hardship to waive the fee entirely.
Relief from payment is granted in accordance with the guidelines of the National Public Defender, who is authorized "to take into account the applicant's proven income, property and debts, or his age, marital status or health." The guiding rule is that full exemption or relief from payment of the fee should be granted when the District Public Defender is convinced that the client cannot reasonably meet the fee. The guidelines of the National Public Defender list specific cases in which the District Public Defenders are instructed to grant an exemption, including, inter alia, where the applicant:
- Is eligible for income assurance allowance;
- Receives a salary, pension or income supplementation up to the minimum wage;
- Has been declared a debtor of restricted means or bankrupt;
- Is a national service volunteer or a soldier or police officer in mandatory service;
- Was represented by the Legal Aid Department during the two years prior to the request;
- Has not earned any income for an extended period, including due to house arrest, detention or imprisonment;
- Is mentally incompetent or mentally ill, rendering him financially unable to pay the fee;
- Is a victim of drug or alcohol abuse, rendering him financially unable to pay the fee;
- Suffers from a physical or health condition rendering him financially unable to pay the fee.
A request for exemption or relief from payment should be submitted in writing to the District Public Defender's Office, attaching the relevant documents. An Economic Questionnaire Form to determine eligibility for fee exemption, rescheduling, relief or deferral is sent by mail along with the payment voucher and can also be downloaded from the link below.
The form can be sent by fax or by mail to the District Public Defender's Office.
The Public Defender's Office will send the applicant a written decision. If it is decided to defer or reschedule the payment or to grant a partial exemption or to reject the applicant's request, a new payment voucher will be sent to the applicant specifying an updated payment date. To enable us to get back to you for clarifications and a response, make sure to complete all your contact details, and particularly your current address and telephone numbers.