Taking a gentile to a secular court

 

May one take a gentile to a secular court?

 

The Biblical prohibition against going to secular courts applies even against taking a gentile to such a court, and one who transgresses this prohibition has transgressed a negative command.[1] This applies even if the secular courts rule the same way as the Beis Din.[2] If one has a claim against a gentile one is this required to make his claim in Beis Din. Nevertheless, in the event that the gentile does not desire to go to a Beis Din, one may take him to a secular court.[3] It is not necessary to receive Rabbinical permission for this matter.[4] Furthermore, if it is common knowledge that the gentile will not agree to appear before a Beis Din then one may even initially take him to secular court without even offering him the initiative of going to Beis Din.[5] Practically, based on this assumption, many are accustomed to take gentiles to secular court without attempting the option of a Beis Din.[6] If however one knows that the gentile will agree to go to a Beis Din, and certainly if the gentile has expressed his will to do so, then it is forbidden to take him to a secular court, just as it is forbidden by a claim against a Jew.[7] In such a case, if one went ahead and took the gentile to secular court the money which was taken from the gentile is considered stolen, and he must return that money to him.[8]


[1] Tashbatz 2/290; Tanchuma Shoftim and Yalkut Shimoni Tehilim 147: From where do you know learn that if a Jew and gentile have claims against each other that it is forbidden for the Jew to tell the gentile “Lets go to your courts”, this is learned from the verse of “Lo Asa Kein Lechol Goy Umishpatim Baal Yedaum” One who disobeys this law transgresses a negative command; Bein Yisrael Lenachri p. 32

 

[2] Tashbatz ibid

 

[3] Tashbatz Chut Hameshulash Tur Hashelishi 6; Bein Yisrael Lenachri p. 32

 

[4] Rav Paltoit brought in Rosh; Bein Yisrael Lenachri p. 32

 

[5] Daas Kedoshim 26/2 even regarding a Jew

 

[6] Tashbatz Chut Hameshulash Tur Hashelishi 6; Rav Mordechai Gross of Chanichei Hayeshivos

 

[7] Tashbatz Chut Hameshulash Tur Hashelishi 6; Bein Yisrael Lenachri p. 32

 

[8] Tashbatz 2/290

 

 

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