Story of a Complaint: The complainant requested a court hearing to dispute a parking ticket, yet debt collection proceedings were taken against him due to his failure to write down his phone number on the request form

Following the intervention of the Office of the Ombudsman, the complainant's request was examined and the parking ticket was revoked

A resident of the town of Kiryat Ata, in the Haifa district, filed a request for a court hearing to dispute a parking ticket that he had received from the Jerusalem Municipality. He was surprised to discover that the municipality was continuing debt collection proceedings against him and had sent him additional debt notifications with an increased fine and payment demands. On turning to the municipality to receive an explanation, he was told that since he had not written his cell-phone number on the form he had completed requesting to go to court, nor had he responded to the letter sent to him by the municipality requesting him to provide this information, his request for a court hearing had not been filed with the court and the municipality was going ahead with debt collection proceedings.   

The complainant contacted the Office of the Ombudsman, claiming that he had not received the said letter and that in any case, the absence of his phone number - a technical detail only - should not delay the filing of his request to go to court and the consequent halting of debt collection proceedings against him.

Following the Office of the Ombudsman's inquiry, the municipality forwarded the complainant's parking ticket to be re-examined by a prosecutor, and the latter decided to revoke the ticket.

Regarding the requirement to provide a cell-phone number, it was found that while this was not required under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Regulations, the online form created by the municipality for filing a request to go to court asked for a cell-phone number as an effective means of communication, enabling the sending of text messages about hearings. Even though the enforcement bodies in the municipality had been instructed to file requests for court hearings despite the absence of a phone number on the request form, in the case of the complainant this had not been carried out.

The Jerusalem Municipality pointed out to the relevant enforcement bodies that in cases where applicants were not interested in writing their phone numbers on the online request form, they should be given the option of filing the form by hand (as the complainant had done), without being asked to provide any other details not required under the said regulations. The municipality also published this directive on its website.