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THIS LAW: Prescription Law (passed by the Knesset March 27, 1958).
ITS AMENDMENTS: (3.2.65)


(No. 38)
PRESCRIPTION LAW, 5718-1958*
CHAPTER ONE: PRINCIPLES OF PRESCRIPTION
Definitions. 1. In this Law --
  • "court" means any judicial authority and any arbitrator, but does not include a religious court;
  • "action" means a civil proceeding before a court;
  • "land" means land of any category and any right or interest in land, and any thing permanently fixed to land and any right or interest requiring registration in the land register.
Plea of
prescription.
2. A claim for the enforcement of any right is subject to prescription, and if an action is brought in respect of a claim which has been prescribed and the defendant pleads prescription, the court shall not entertain the action; but prescription shall not per se void the right itself.
Time for
plea of
prescription.
3. A plea of prescription shall not be entertained unless the defendant makes it at the earliest opportunity after the action has been brought.
Counterclaim
and set-off.
4. In an action concerning a claim which has not been prescribed, or which has been prescribed but against which a plea of prescription has not been made, a plea of prescription against a set-off in that action, or against a counterclaim relating to the same subject-matter and arising from the same circumstances as the claim, shall not be heard.
CHAPTER TWO: PERIOD OF PRESCRIPTION
Period of
prescription.
5. The period within which a claim in respect of which an action has not been brought shall be prescribed (such period being hereinafter referred to as "the period of prescription") shall be --
  • (1) in the case of a claim not relating to land - seven years;
  • (2) in the case of a claim relating to land - fifteen years or, if the land has been registered in the land register after settlement of title in accordance with the Land (Settlement of Title) Ordinance(1), -- twenty-five years.
Commencement
of prescription.
6. The period of prescription shall begin on the day on which the cause of action accrued.
Fraud and
cheating.
7. Where the cause of action is fraud or cheating by the defendant, the period of prescription shall begin on the day on which the plaintiff learnt of the fraud or cheating.
Prescription
where facts
are unknown.
8. Where the facts constituting the cause of action were unknown to the plaintiff for reasons beyond his control and which he could not have eliminated even by exercising reasonable care, the period of prescription shall begin on the day on which such facts became known to him.
Admission of
existence of
right.
9. Where the defendant, either during or after the period of prescription, has admitted, in writing or before a court, the existence of the plaintiffs right, the period of prescription shall begin on the day of the admission; an act which constitutes a partial implementation of the right shall, for the purpose of this section, have the effect of an admission.

In this section, "admission" does not include an admission accompanied by a plea of prescription.

CHAPTER THREE: CALCULATION OF PERIOD OF PRESCRIPTION
Minority. 10. In calculating the period of prescription, any time during which the plaintiff had not yet completed his eighteenth year shall not be taken into account.
Mental illness. 11. In calculating the period of prescription, any time during which the plaintiff was mentally ill and not under guardianship shall not be taken into account; where he was under guardianship, any time during which the facts constituting the cause of action were not yet known to the guardian shall not be taken into account.
Guardian-ward
relationship.
12. In calculating the period of prescription, any time during which the plaintiff was the guardian or ward of the defendant shall not be taken into account.
Marriage. 13. In calculating the period of prescription, any time during which the parties were married to each other shall not be taken into account; where the marriage has been legally declared null ab initio, or legally, dissolved, the parties shall, for the purpose of this section, be deemed to have been married to each other until the day of the declaration or dissolution.
Absence from
Israel.
14. In calculating the period of prescription, any time during which one of the parties was in the territory of a foreign state, and the conditions under which he was placed there or the relations which existed between that state and the State of Israel prevented him or the other party from conducting the litigation, shall not be taken into account.
In this section --
  • "territory of a state" includes any protectorate of, or area actually held by, the state in question;
  • "party" - in relation to any property vested in the Custodian of Absentees' Property, the Custodian of German Property or the Administrator of Enemy Property - means the person who was the owner of that property immediately before the vesting.
Dismissed
action.
15. Where an action has been brought before any court, including a religious court, and been so dismissed that the plaintiff is not debarred from bringing a fresh action for the same cause, the time between the bringing and the dismissal of the action shall not be taken into account in calculating the prescription.
Period of
prescription
after
interruption.
16. A period of prescription which had been interrupted as provided in sections 10 and 12 to 15 shall not terminate before the expiration of at least one year from the day on which the interruption ended; a period of prescription which bad been interrupted under section 11 shall not terminate before the expiration of at least two years from the day on which the interruption ended.
Closure of
court.
17. A period of prescription which had been interrupted as provided in sections 10 and 12 to 15 shall not terminate before the expiration of at least one year from the day on which the interruption ended; a period of prescription which bad been interrupted under section 11 shall not terminate before the expiration of at least two years from the day on which the interruption ended.
Devolution of
right immaterial.
18. In calculating the period of prescription, it shall be immaterial whether the right is claimed by the person originally entitled or by his successor or whether it is claimed against the person originally liable or against his successor: Provided that where the right has devolved by way of inheritance, the period of prescription shall not terminate before the expiration of at least one year from the day of the devolution.
CHAPTER FOUR: MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
Agreed period
of prescription.
19. The parties may, by separate written contract, agree upon a longer period of prescription, than that fixed by this Law and, in the case of a claim not relating to land, also upon a shorter period, so long as it is not shorter than six months.
Right to
recover out of
charge.
20. Where a debt is secured by a lien, a mortgage, a pledge or any other similar charge, the debtor's right to recover it out of the charge shall not be affected by prescription.
Prescription of
judgement.
21. Where twenty-five years have elapsed since the judgment in any action was given without the person in whose favour it was given having taken any steps to enforce it, the person against whom it was given may plead prescription; but a judgment, in any action, which by reason of Its contents does not require enforcement is not subject to prescription.
Amendment of
Ottoman Land
Code.
22. In articles 20 and 78 of the Ottoman Land Code, the period fixed therein shall be replaced by a period of fifteen years; however, in the case of. a person who came into possession of any land after the 24th Adar Alef, 5713 (1st March, 1943), the five years beginning on the day of the coming into force of this Law shall not be taken into account in calculating that period. The reference in article 20 of the said Code to the legal causes for the interruption of the period of prescription, shall be superseded by the provisions of this Law regarding the calculation of the period of prescription.
Amendment of
Land (Settle-
ment of Title)
Ordinance.
23. In the Land (Settlement of Title) Ordinance -
  • (1) sections 52 and 53 shall be repealed;
  • (2) the reference in section 55 to article 1663 of the Mejelle shall be replaced by a reference to this Law.
Amendment of
Civil Wrongs
Ordinance.
24. In the Civil Wrongs Ordinance, 1944(2) Ordinance.
  • (1) sections 68, 68B, 68C, 68D and 71A shall be repealed;
  • (2) the words "for the purpose of the period of limitation" in the opening passage of section 68A shall be replaced by the words "for the purpose of the period of limitation in an action for a civil wrong". (A further terminological amendment does not affect the English version).
Amendment of
Bills of
Exchange
Ordinance.
25. In section 96 (a) of the Bills of Exchange Ordinance(3), the words "five years" shall be replaced by the words "seven years", and the words "one year" shall he replaced by the words "two years".
Repeal. 26. There are hereby repealed -
  • (1) articles 1660, 1662 to 1672 and 1674 of the Mejelle;
  • (2) articles 276 to 282 of the Ottoman Maritime Commerce Code of the 20th August, 1863;
  • (3) articles 65 and 68 of the Ottoman Commercial Code of 1850;
  • (4) articles 143 to 147 of the Ottoman Provisional Law of Execution of the 11th May, 1914;
  • (5) section 10 of the Copyright Act, 1911(4);
  • (6) the Limitation (Enemies and War Prisoners) Ordinance, 1946(5);
  • (7) section 12(4) of the Government Railways Ordinance, 1936(6)
  • (8) section 11 of the Postal Bank Law, 5711-1951(7).
Saving of
laws.
27. This Law shall not, unless otherwise expressly therein provided, affect any period of prescription fixed for a particular matter in any other law; and this Law shall not affect any power, under any Law, to dismiss an action or to refuse to grant relief by reason of delay.
Provision as to
the State.
28. The provisions of this Law shall apply also to the State.
Transitional
provisions.
29.
  • (a) Where a claim, other than a claim relating to land, has been prescribed before the coming into force of this Law, the provisions of this Law fixing periods of prescription shall not apply to it; but where an action, concerning a claim as aforesaid was pending immediately before the coming into force of this Law, the court may apply to it all the provisions of this Law even though it may not be an action relating to land.
  • (b) Where a claim relates to land, all the provisions of this Law shall apply to it even though it may have been prescribed, or even though the period fixed in articles 20 and 78 of the Ottoman Land Code may have expired, before the coming into force of this Law.
  • (c) Where a claim has not been prescribed before the coming into force of this Law, all the provisions of this Law shall apply to it.
  • (d) In all the cases referred to in this section, the period of prescription shall not be shorter than it was before the coming into force of this Law.
Implementation
and regulations.
30. The Minister of Justice is charged with the implementation of this Law and may make regulations as to any matter relating to such implementation, including regulations giving effect to provisions as to the calculation and length of periods of prescription contained in an agreement between Israel and a foreign state or in an international convention to which Israel is a party, even though the provisions of such agreement or convention may be repugnant to the provisions of this Law.
  DAVID BEN-GURION
Prime Minister
PINCHAS ROSEN
Minister of Justice
YITZCHAK BEN-ZVI
Acting President of the State
   
* Passed by the Knesset on the 6th Nisan, 5718 (27th March, 1958) and published in Sefer Ha-Chukkim No. 251 of the 16th Nisan, 5718 (6th April 1958), p. 112; the Bill and an Explanatory Note were published in Hatza’ot Chok No. 312 of 5717, p. 280.

(1) Laws of Palestine vol. II, cap. 80, p. 853 (English Edition).

(2) P.G. of 1944, Suppl. I, No. 1380, p. 129 (English Edition); Sefer Ha-Chukkim No. 206 of 5716, p. 78 - LSI vol. X, p. 73.

(3) Dinei Medinat Israel (Nusach Chadash) No. 2, p. 12.

(4) Laws of Palestine vol. III, p. 2475 (English Edition); Sefer Ha-Chukkim No. 118 of 5713, p. 38 - LSI vol. VII, p. 30.

(5) P.G. of 1946, Suppl. I, No. 5717, p. 202 (English Edition).

(6) P.G. of 1936, Suppl. I, No. 593, p. 179 (English Edition).

(7) Sefer Ha-Chukkim No. 79 of 5711, p. 219 ; LSI vol. V, p. 138.


RETURN: to the TOP of this Law.

THIS LAW: Prescription Law (passed by the Knesset March 27, 1958).
ITS AMENDMENTS: (3.2.65)

SOURCE: "Laws of the State of Israel: Authorized Translation from the Hebrew, Volume 12". Government Printer, Jerusalem, Israel (1948-1987), p. 129-133.

(C) Israel Law Resource Center, February, 2007.

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