Translation:Shulchan Aruch/Choshen Mishpat/5
1. One is prohibited from judging (a civil case) on Shabbos or Yom Tov, but if he does so the ruling is valid.
2. One cannot judge (a civil case) on Erev Shabbos or Erev Yom Tov. If a party calls his adversary to court on those days, he does not have to come. Even if they summoned him on the eve of a Sabbath or Festival to appear after the Sabbath or Festival, and he did not come, we do not penalize him . RAMA: There are those that write that in today’s day and age, we do in fact judge on Friday and Erev Yom Tov because of the concern of wasting the schoolteachers’ time . This is specifically with respect to monetary issues because of the principle of hefker beis din hefker . With respect to other matters, however, one cannot be lenient . It appears to me that this only applies for one-off situations, but a court cannot permanently set up its days of session on Friday or Erev Yom Tov. This is in fact the custom. We do not set a court date in Nisan or Tishrei for a party that is not in the city . If, however, they called a party in Nisan or Tishrei to come afterwards, we would indeed fine him if he does not show up. RAMA: Some say we do not accept litigants in Shul in Nisan or the High Holidays, even for those villagers who came for the minyan. Rather, we set up a time for after the holidays . If there is deliberate postponement and deception on the part of the summoned party in order to avoid justice, then we can judge immediately . There are those places that have the custom that if they began the case prior to Nisan or Tishrei, then they do set a date during those months. Any place that has that custom may rely on that custom. One cannot start a case at night, but if a monetary case began during the day, they may complete it at night . There are those that say that if a court went ahead and judged at night, the ruling is still valid .
3. The appropriate time for judges to sit (and hear cases) is from the morning until the end of the 5th hour . They do not have to sit after that time.
4. Judges cannot sit to judge from the start of the 7th hour- even just to finish the case- until they daven Minchah . If they did start, even if it was the beginning of a case, they do not have to stop, even if it reached the time of Mincha Ketanah , so long as they still have time to daven following the case. If they sat near the time of Mincha Ketanah, then they would stop .
5. When is a case considered to have begun? Once the parties have begun to set forth their claims or once the judges have wrapped themselves up . See Orach Chaim, Siman 232.