The current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has had and will continue to have far reaching economic ramifications. Within our communities, there have been many cancelled travel plans, institutional dinners, simchos, and the like. What does halacha say about a rental contract frustrated by a pandemic? If someone put down a deposit for a Pesach rental … Continue reading COVID-19 and Cancelled Rental Contracts
When a highly unexpected event happens, a party’s contractual obligations may become difficult, unprofitable or impossible to perform. The Beth Din of America hosted a webinar on April 28, 2020, exploring the extent to which contractual obligations are modified or suspended in light of a pandemic such as COVID-19. In “Cancelling Contracts Due to Pandemics: … Continue reading Contracts and COVID-19
Jewish law prescribes two different methods for courts to resolve disputes: din (strict judgement according to the letter of the law) and pesharah (court-imposed settlement). Under din, courts are instructed to decide cases by applying the substantive halakhot of Jewish civil law to the dispute at hand. Under pesharah, courts are instructed to resolve disputes by imposing a reasonable and fair settlement on the parties…
Our previous post discussed the pitfalls of zabla proceedings. Because these problems are exacerbated when to’anim serve on the panel, the Beth Din of America will not allow a litigant to initiate a zabla by selecting a to’en as his or her borrer. As we noted in an earlier post discussing the hazmanah process, when … Continue reading Published Procedural Letter: Zabla Panels
Ideally, parties to a dispute would agree to litigate at an established and reputable beit din. The beit din would then empanel a group of expert dayanim (arbitrators) to hear the case. Practically, however, the din torah process can get stalled when parties fail to agree on a beit din—when each party rejects the other’s … Continue reading What to Do When You and Your Adversary Can’t Agree on a Beit Din
Many of the Beth Din’s cases involve disputes over outstanding debts. Some of these cases turn on the force of an admission made by one of the parties over the course of their dealings—either by the defendant that he still owes money or by the plaintiff that the debt has been extinguished. This post discusses … Continue reading Admission of Civil Liability in Jewish Law
Parties to a din torah frequently ask the Beth Din to award attorney’s fees. This post discusses the extent to which Jewish law requires litigants to bear the costs of their own litigation and under what circumstances the Beth Din is empowered to reallocate those costs and award attorney’s fees to the prevailing party. In … Continue reading Recovering the Costs of Litigation in Beit Din
Mizrahi v. Ben-David (an anonymous decision posted today on the Beth Din’s website) involves a dispute over a neighbor’s right to purchase an abutting property. This post provides an overview of the case, its halakhic background, and a summary of the dayanim’s analysis. 1. The Law of the Abutter Jewish law provides an abutter with … Continue reading Published Decision: When Has a Neighbor Waived His Right to First Refusal?
Our previous post discussed the crucial role of the arbitration agreement in granting the beit din jurisdiction to hear a case. The present post discusses the hazmana process leading up to the arbitration agreement. When a claimant wishes to summon a party to beit din, he or she can open a case at the Beth … Continue reading Beit Din Procedure: The Hazmana Process
This post discusses the significance of the arbitration agreement and how a beit din acquires jurisdiction to decide a case. Jewish law requires parties to settle their dispute in beit din. Generally, a given beit din has jurisdiction under Jewish law to hear a case if one of three conditions is met. The first is … Continue reading Beit Din Procedure: How Does a Beit Din Acquire Jurisdiction to Hear a Case?