Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/11
Paragraph 1- How do we call a party to court? The court sends their messenger to tell the party that he should come to court on a specified date. If he does not come, we call him a second time. If he still does not come, we call him a third time. If he still does not come, we wait the entire day for him to come. If he still does not come, we put a nidui on him the following day. This only applies for someone who lives in the village and comes and goes into the city. Someone who is generally in the city, however, only receives one set time to come. If he does not come that whole day, we put a nidui on him the following day. If the court moved to another area, he must follow them. If he does not, we put a nidui on him. The court messenger is believed to say the party cursed him, cursed the judge or does not want to come to court and we would place the appropriate punishment on the party based on the messenger’s word. We would not, however, write a letter of shmuti until two witnesses come and testify that he refuses to come. The messenger is not liable for lashon hora for relating these matters. If one says he does not concern himself with the rulings of a court or scholar, we put a nidui on him, even if he ultimately comes to court because he said he did not come because of the court ruling which is heresy. See yoreh deah 354. If he says I will not be judged in front of this court, but another court, see later siman 14. One who is unable to go to court because he has to travel abroad must let the court know of his situation and ask for a new date. If he does not do so we would put a nidui on him even though he could not come. One who agrees to be judged by a court of two (with a kinyan) and is called to court and does not go, receives a nidui from a court of three. Paragraph 2- If a messenger said so and so the judge has sent me to call you to court and the party does not want to come, we would not write a letter of shmuti until the messenger says it in the name of all three judges. If there is an expert among the judges we would honor him by mentioning it in the name of the expert. This is true where the messenger went on a day that is not known as a day the judges sit. If it was a known day of judgement, however, everyone is aware that judges are gathered and it is considered as if the messenger had called him in the name of all three even though he only said one.
Paragraph 3- If a party is in the country but the messenger could not find him, the party would not receive a set date until the messenger finds him and tells him. If the party was in the village and he has the practice of coming each day, the messenger can tell a neighbor- even a woman- that if so and so comes you should tell him that the court has set a time for him to come today to court. If he does not come, we would put a nidui on him that night. All the more so if the messenger told the party directly but did not have a chance to go back to court and say I completed my mission. This is only true where the path that he goes on does not pass the court. If, however, he passes the court, he would not receive a nidui until the messenger himself tells him because the neighbors may say he passed the entrance of the court and already left the court. Similarly, if he will not come to the country until the next day, we would not rely on the neighbors who may have forgotten to tell him. Similarly, if he was in the city we would not rely on the neighbors because they will say that perhaps the messenger found him and told him.
Paragraph 4- If a party has a nidui written against him for not coming and says he will come, the letter will not be ripped up until he comes. However, if one has a nidui written on him that he refuses to do what the court commanded him to, as soon as he says I agree to do what the court has commanded, we would rip up the letter. He must pay the wages of the scribe. One who has a seiruv written against him and later claims that he was unaware is not believed because the action of a court gains attention.
Paragraph 5- Whether prominent women and scholars whose trade is Torah can be called to court and the concept of a defendant appointing a messenger to take his place in court will be explained in Siman 96 and Siman 124.
Paragraph 6- A judge may sign on the side of a document calling someone to court.