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COSTS:

The outlays made by suitors which are incident to the administration of justice. The question of costs is a twofold one: (1) What do the several officials and the witnesses receive? and (2) What, if anything, does the successful recover from the losing party?

  • 1. Among the officers the judge or judges are foremost; then such experts and referees as assist the court by their reports (e.g., the appraisers of land; see Appraisement); next the clerks who take down the proceedings or make out judicial writings; next the messengers who summon the defendant and who carry out the judgment by seizure of goods and lands; and, lastly, the witnesses.As to the judges and witnesses the Mishnah (Bek. iv. 6) lays down the stern rule: "One who takes hire to judge, his judgments are void: he who testifies for hire, his testimony is void."Later authorities saw the impossibility of obtaining the services of the judge for nothing, and, following Ket. 105a, allowed him to charge for loss of time if he had a known occupation; but the mere claim that during the time consumed he might have secured some employment did not entitle him to any costs. The payment of a judge's fee was shared by the two parties in equal parts (compare Bribery; Fees).The clerk's fees for noting the proceedings in open court, and for making out all writings in which both parties join, are borne by both parties in equal shares (B. B. x. 4). But if the ban has been pronounced against the defendant for refusing to appear, and he comes in to clear himself, he has to pay, before the ban is removed, the fee due to the clerk for making out the instrument (B. Ḳ. 112b).The messengers are of course paid for their services and traveling expenses. In the Talmudical passage relating to the corrupt practise of Samuel's sons of enriching their underlings (Shab. 56a), the messenger is called ("apparitor," lit. a synagogue official).
  • 2. There is no provision for awarding to the winning party his outlay for costs against the loser, except in a procedure arising after Talmud times, and first mentioned by Alfasi; namely, that of Foreign Attachment, a procedure which is peculiar,being due to the necessities of the times when the Jews had become wanderers from land to land.
Bibliography:
  • Shulḥan Aruk, Hoshen Mishpaṭ, ix. 1-5;
  • compare the authorities quoted in Eisenstadt's Pitḥe Teshubah to this passage.
L. G. L. N. D.
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