Small Claims Beis Din
- A UK Beis Din (rabbinic court) has just announced a new small claims service for claims between £500 and £5000 where both parties choose to use it; the guarantee is that they will “receive a brief, written, binding psak within 72 hours”.
- I must be missing something.
- It’s great that a Beis Din is promising a swift decision: one of the embarrassing features of the Beis Din system in this country is how long cases are sometimes allowed to drag on.
- But what’s that got to do with the value of the claim?
- Everybody knows that the complexity of a claim and its value do not necessarily correlate.
- In secular courts, there are a number of practical reasons why small claims are provided with a range of faster tracks.
- A Beis Din is meant to do one of two things: (a) determine a compromise; or (b) decide the truth of liability.
- There is no reason why either of those should be quicker with a “small” claim (and which part of the community is the Beis Din prioritising if it considers £5,000 a “small” claim?).
- The speed of the resolution should be determined by the complexity of the case, not its value.
- Instead of offering a service that equates complexity with value and thereby inevitably risks giving decisions that are poorly thought out in order to meet an artificial 72-hour deadline, all Botei Din should concentrate on treating all cases as urgent, and providing answers as quickly as is consistent with the search for Torah justice.
- If the parties don’t care whether a decision is right or wrong but just want it quickly because the claim isn’t big enough to matter much to either of them, they’d do better tossing a coin.