Third Parties Intervention in Jewish Law: New Friends (Amicus) in the Rabbinical Courts Litigation
Forthcoming, Jewish Law Annual, Vol. 22
29 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2020
Date Written: November 9, 2020
This article discusses the proper use of the Amicus Curiae practice in Jewish law and in rabbinical courts. The article argues that the Amicus Curiae, in rabbinical courts should serve as an “amicus” – meaning, as a "true friend" of the rabbinical court, one that assists with the resolving of different issues, in a professional and objective manner. Rabbinical judges (dayanim), base their decisions on the Jewish Halakha (religious law) and in so search for the true halakha - a decision based on the substantive truth as it had occurred, and not solely on the truth that can be learned from the admissible evidence.
The article illustrates that even today, rabbinical courts make use of several legal practices that assist them in receiving information from external sources. The rabbinical courts oftentimes call these practices: “consulting a grand scholar”, “trustee of the court”, “court expert on Judaism inquiries” and “yada arichta” (“long arm”). This article argues that while such practices are desirable in the Jewish law, they pose difficulties relating to the law of evidence, procedural law, and ethical issues.
In place of these obscure practices, the article suggests formally adopting the Amicus Curiae practice, in a dedicated model tailored to the rabbinical courts. This can help solve some of the difficulties that arise currently and regulate the receiving of information from external sources. This will help improve the rabbinical court’s decisions and direct to the true halakha, the substantial truth. The Amicus Curiae is a proper solution to the current practices used in the rabbinical courts. Finally, considering the growing necessity of the Amicus Curiae, the article suggests an initial version of regulation of the Amicus Curiae in the Rabbinical Courts procedure.
Keywords: Third Parties Intervention, Jewish Law, Rabbinical Courts Litigation. Amicus Curiae
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