Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/15
Paragraph 1- A judge must give precedence to whatever case comes before im first. However, he must give precedence to the case of a scholar, even if he comes at the end. Similarly, there is a mitzvah to attempt to find a merit for the scholar, to the best of the judge’s ability. If the scholar himself is in front of the judges, they judge him first so that he does not spend time away from learning, even if they already started another case. If a scholar’s relative, however, came to court, we would not stop a case that was already started. If they did not start, they need to judge the relative first because of the honor of the scholar.
Paragraph 2- If a judge has a lot of cases before him, the orphan’s case comes before the widow’s, who comes before the scholar, who comes before the ignoramus. A woman’s case comes before a man’s.
Paragraph 3- If a judge is on a case where he is aware that trickery is involved, he should not say I will rule on the case and the sin will be on the witnesses’ shoulders. Rather, he should investigate as thorough as he would investigate a capital case. It is sill different than a capital case in that if the witness says he does not know with respect to one of the inquiries, his testimony does not become void. Rather, it means one should investigate as much as he can when dealing with a dishonest case. If it seems to the judge that there is some kind of dishonesty, he does not trust the witnesses notwithstanding the fact that he cannot disqualify them or if he believes that a party is a liar and has mislead the witnesses who are just testifying in passing, notwithstanding the fact that they are valid witnesses or he sees other contradictory matters that he cannot reveal or any similar case, the judge cannot rule on the case. Rather, he should remove himself from the case and someone who is completely comfortable should judge the matter for these are matters that are dependent on the heart. When the Rosh would have a situation where it was clear that the case was dishonest he would provide the defendant with a letter that no judge should participate in this case.
Paragraph 4- This all applies where the plaintiff is dishonest. If the defendant is dishonest, however, the judge cannot remove himself so as not to reward the fraudster. Rather, he must investigate well in order to remove the deception. If it is clear to the judge that the defendant is liable, he must find him liable if the judge is an expert and unique in his generation. Using this method, a judge can tell the defendant that he will not grant him time to bring support to his case until he provides a deposit as security because a judge only needs to concern himself with what he can see. A judge can even force a party to swear in a situation where is not obligated to do so by law, if it is done to discover the truth.
Paragraph 5- A judge must decide monetary cases the way he thinks is the truth. His heart must be strong that this is the correct ruling, even though he has no clear proof. Once improper courts without perceptive judges were on the rise, they agreed that they will not flip an oath other than with a clear proof and they will not ruin one’s rights from a document based on the testimony of a woman or relative, even if the judge trusts them. Similarly, we do not extract money from orphans unless we have complete proof. We do not rely on the view of the judge or an evaluation of the deceased or the plaintiff. Nevertheless, if a reliable person testifies on any of these things and the judge is inclined to believe him, he can delay the ruling and not push away his testimony. He can give and take with the parties until they confess to the witness’ claims. He can investigate until the matter becomes clear or he can perform pshara or remove himself from the case as was explained. If it appears to the court that a person is stealing from another but they cannot use the law to take back the money, they are able to decree that others should not do business with him. If she is a woman, they can decree that no man may marry her. They should not work on arranging her marriage until she removes the item that is not hers. See later 358:5.