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Why we need a Religious Dispute Resolution Tribunal

November 11, 2010 – 8:07 pm29 Comments
Darth Vader vs Obi Wan Kenobi

If only they had a Dispute Resolution Tribunal, it might not have come to this

By David Segal

Shortly after the well-known conflict involving Caulfield Shule was adjudicated by the secular court, the Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Victoria (COSV) announced that within six months or shortly thereafter it would establish a religious arbitration tribunal, designed to hear financial disputes between members of the community.

Since this proposal was made known, many “half years” have passed—indeed full years have passed. Despite a number of announcements about the impending establishment of the religious arbitration tribunal, nothing has materialised to date.

Why is it that that the COSV was able to set up a Beth Din for divorces and conversions overnight, but is either too slow or unable to set up a tribunal to arbitrate financial disputes?

Is it because in cases of divorce and conversion there is no other option, other than to go to a Beth Din, whereas in cases of financial disputes litigants are free to use the secular court system? Using the secular court system presents significant halachic challenges for a religious Jew. Under halacha, it is always preferable to attempt to resolve matters via arbitration under the aegis of a quasi-halachic judicial system which includes religious arbitrators who are also skilled in financial matters. The Beth Din of America has, for example, long used such systems.

A few weeks ago, when I asked a person who is close to that organisation, about the reasons why the tribunal had not yet been established, he replied that the legal advisers to the committee suggested to them that if the religious arbitration tribunal refused to accept the evidence of females, a secular appeals court would repeal and annul that tribunal’s verdict. Consequently, the committee decided against establishing a religious arbitration tribunal, as “they don’t want another Mond case.”

If, indeed, if there was a decision not to establish a tribunal, and this consideration was one the main reasons for this decision, it suggests a breathtaking level of ignorance of halacha, on the part of those Rabbis or any one else affiliated with the organisational committee. The solution to the issue of admissibility of female evidence to a tribunal that is ruling on cases of monetary disputes is simple: both parties to the dispute simply sign a document in which they affirm that they agree to accept the evidence of females in the context of the case at hand. This affirmation readily transforms such testimony as halachically acceptable for the tribunal’s subsequent consideration and judgement. (see Bait Chadash, Choshen Mishpat 5(6), Sma 5(7), Shach 5(4) ad. Loc ).

The status quo, as we know it, is intolerable. When a conflict arises, a religious Jew has no established body to turn to; with the exception of their local synagogue Rabbi, whose breadth of Jewish jurisprudence appears to be limited to the laws pertaining to a bar mitzvah through to the laws of reciting Kaddish.

How much longer must we tolerate this situation?

David Segal is a businessman who immigrated to Australia from Israel where he studied in Yeshiva & Kollel.

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  • Adam says:

    Good article David. I wonder if the reason is because there are not enough Rabbonim in Melbourne sufficiently versed in the halachot that deal with money or have a clear understanding of financially and commerically complex agreements? Or is the reason because no one in Melbourne(even in the frum community) really respects the Dayanim or their ability to arbitrate?

  • Malki Rose says:

    you write that the solution is “simple”, that the parties to the dispute “simply” sign a document stating that they are happy to have female testimony admitted.

    What if one of the parties is not interested in allowing this? Then it is no longer such a simple solution.

    Although you contend that halachically there is no problem with this, we all know that people who ‘would like there to be a problem with this’ will certainly insist that they find it to be ‘problematic’. i.e. especially if it is in the interests of that particular party to NOT go before arbitration, this will become a convenient scapegoat.

    Also from what I understand, and assumably we’ve heard different things from different people and who are probably coming from different perspectives, another key reason it was deemed not viable to set up such a Tribunal was because thus far, in the few financial dispute cases that have gone before the Bet Din, dissatisfied parties have chosen not to find the result binding and taken it further to a civil court to obtain what they feel is a more ‘appropriate’ outcome.

    So would there really be a sufficient number (?) of cases, were both parties are happy to hold by the findings, to make a Religious Dispute Resolution Tribunal (RDRT) viable?

  • Adam says:


    I think you raise extremely valid points. In my opinion, before any Religious Dispute Resolution Tribunal is established, there needs to be some serious long term training of potential Dayanim. My view would be that they should also have a secular law degree with some practical experience in commerical litigation/dispute resolution. Once the Dayanim are respected and looked up to in the same manner as secular Judges or QC’s are, then a Religious Dipsute Resolution Tribunal may work.

    Excuse my ignorance, but are the rules of evidence that need to be adhered to in an arbitration the same as in a formal Jewish court case? For example, is female testimony rejected in an arbitration the same way as in a court case or does arbitration have its own rules of testimony which does not automatically disqualify a female witness?

  • Yossi says:

    Dovid – “………the exception of their local synagogue Rabbi, whose breadth of Jewish jurisprudence appears to be limited to the laws pertaining to a bar mitzvah through to the laws of reciting Kaddish.״
    Our local Rabbis may not be as knowledgable in Jewish jurisprudence as you are, but undoubtedly, they are knowledgeable when it comes to loshon hora and slander.
    The subject of your letter is important and very valid , however you destroy any credibility with your final sentence – see above.

  • dovid segal says:


    The answer to your question is also very simple:

    As such a tribunal will have no powers to force people to appear in front him, unless by agreement, why didn’t you ask: “and what if one of sides to the dispute refuses to appear in front of the so called “Beth Din”?
    A person that is looking for reasons not to settle a dispute unless it is on his conditions, will find a reason why not to appear in front the tribunal, even if all the arbitrators and whiteness are men who wear Shtreimels and white socks.



    There is no question that what you suggested is the real reason for the delays in setting up the tribunal, and not the technical problems.

    I think that there is chance only if the “Machers” of the cosv will realize that settling disputes is not a g-d given right to rabbonim only.


    Why do we hear so often about the halacot of loshon hora when people want to destroy a person’s credibility, but we don’t hear about the laws of Sheker, and Shochad?

    שבת דף קלט עמוד א

    תניא, רבי יוסי בן אלישע אומר: אם ראית דור שצרות רבות באות עליו – צא ובדוק בדייני ישראל. שכל פורענות שבאה לעולם לא באה אלא בשביל דייני ישראל

  • dovid segal says:


    in the end of the page:

    “6. Certainly, exclusion of testimony or even implied non acceptance of the evidence of women, Gentiles and relatives would easily provide grounds to a civil court vacating Beis Din’s judgment. With reference to the role of women in the Beis Din system, see Emanuel Quint, “A Restatement of Rabbinic Civil Law”, Volume I, ibid., Appendix, page 275 et seq. Without necessarily adopting the views expressed by Rabbi Quint, it is nonetheless worthy to note that his six volume work quotes various sources and provides a good focus in English for the identification of the myriad of issues which a Beis Din system must address when operating in the context of North American society. For example, at page 276, he comes to the position that women may be equal to men “in all the laws of the Torah” and that women may certainly be parties to litigation before Beis Din. Rabbi Quint reviews the authorities who do not permit women to testify in Beis Din. He also brings forward the authorities to the contrary. The discussion appears to be a thorough one and is recommended for review to the extent that Rabbi Quint quotes the original sources both for and against. At page 295, he writes:
    It may be possible that the litigants who come before the beth din accept by kinyan women as witnesses in the case before them.
    Therefore, depending on what view the Beis Din took with respect to the discussion of Rabbi Quint, this problem could possibly be solved through the Arbitration Agreement itself. This could apply to other categories of prohibited witnesses such as relatives (as described at page 295) and Gentiles”.

  • yossi says:

    Dovid/David – who are you accusing of Sheker and Shochad?

  • Joe in Australia says:

    The litigation that followed the arbitration involving Caulfield Shule shows the problems with halachic arbitration. Without getting into the rights or wrongs of that case, it showed that the dayanim can be sued and made liable for consequential losses. This means that it would be extremely dangerous for a dayan to sit on such a tribunal, given that a disgruntled plaintiff may force them to to account for their actions before a secular court. Even a meritless action would be hugely expensive and disruptive and I can’t see any way the dayanim could protect themselves.

    Furthermore, the court in the Caulfield Shule case specifically criticised the idea of a Zabla and the idea that each side may have a partial arbitrator. I don’t know whether this would prevent an alternative halachic method of arbitration, but those methods may have their own problems that have not yet been identified.

  • There is a Torah obligation to establish Batie Din wherever Jews live. This is also true in Chutz LaAretz, beyond E Yisrael’s borders, althogh the obligation in EY requires greater saturation.

    These Batei Din must deal with all aspects of life and business and all their peripheral issues and associated disputes. See Rambam, Sanhedrin Chapter 1.

    There are no exemptions from this duty because we may run into difficulties.

  • Joe in Australia says:

    R’ Meir, the parties in the Caulfield Shule matter used a Zabla rather than a Beis Din per se. In any event, the problem isn’t having a Beis Din: the problems would only arise if the Beis Din sought to enforce its ruling by appealing to the secular authorities.

  • Thank you Joe,

    but I dont see how this alters or relates to the point that we have a duty to establish Batei Din in Australia.

    Whether the BD will be used by our community does not relate to our duty to establish a BD

  • Marky says:

    From what I understand about the Caulfield Shul case, there was a written agreement-before the Din Torah went ahead-that even after the psak was given, it could still be referred to the secular courts. Without this agreement, the psak would have apparently been final.

    Without this agreement, the side opposing the Shul would not agree to go to Din Torah.

  • dovid segal says:

    there isn’t a country in the world (including Israel) where a Beth Din can(legally) summon and coerce a Jew to appear before him in a pecuniary conflict as a defendant,although the batei did it for many years,(see here: http://www.bhol-forums.co.il/topic.asp?topic_id=1825996&forum_id=1364)and I don’t think that Australia will give the cosv the authority to do so.

    A few month ago I read in the ajn that the cosv announced, that they are in the middle of discussion with the ministry of justice, about establishing the tribunal, but they gave the impression that there is a good chance that they will get what they were asking, but I think that there was no discussion and no chance of approval.

    Their announcement reminded me the story about a Jew in a shetel, who told his friends that the Poritz spoke to him, and when asked by his friends: what did he tell you? He answered:

    He told me, drop dead!

    I can’t see why the tribunal must be composed of synagogue rabbis, so that in a case of a pecuniary dispute a plaintiff will be judged by people that have no idea in law. gone are the days when disputes were about a cow or a chicken, and the rabbi was the most intelligent person in the village, today’s conflicts are not about a cow or a chicken and the shule rabbi is no longer the smartest person on the block.

    Most the poskim in our day and age rule that a contract that is written by a lawyer is binding according the halacha, either because of “Dina D’malchuta Dina” or the m’din Situmta-Minhag Hasocharim, how can we expect from a person that didn’t study law to judge in a dispute that involves company law or contract law?

    A few years ago when there was a pecuniary conflict between two members of a certain community and the dispute ended up in court, a member of this congregation, who was a clothing manufacturer announced the establishment (or the proposal to establish) a “beit din shel sochrim” to hear disputes between members of the community, and of course it never was established, as the people didn’t think that being a successful “shmates” manufacturer is proof of being honest or having knowledge in law, although in the past there were such batei din in the kehilot, see here:


    or a summary of this article here:


    But as since those days, the structure of the communities has changed, and such institutions are not suitable any more.

    Only if the cosv will establish a dispute resolution tribunal, whose members are professionals, And not synagogue rabbis, is there a chance for such a body to succeed.


    You wrote:

    Why shouldn’t they be sued if they are dishonest and distort the law justice to harm people, by the way’ if the arbitrators exceeded their authority, are also grounds to cancel the verdict of the arbitrators.

    She didn’t criticized the Jewish law, she criticized the law that was presented to her as the Jewish law by the defended.

    Here is the full story:

    One of D. Mond’s main reasons in his statement to the court when he applied to abolish was the zabla was that dayan Berger who was picked and paid by the committee as their “men” was acting in the tribunal as if he represents the shule and as an arbitrator that under the law has to be neutral, and is a good enough reason to abolish their ruling, as mond had proof to his claim, they brought professor brodie from the us and paid him “little” money and made him sign an affidavit that the Jewish law an arbitrator is permitted to represent the person that picked him, And that was what she criticized.


    Give me a list of those that you think that are liars,and i will tell you if mine are on your list.



    Your understanding is wrong.

    There was no psak on the issue in dispute, it was a partial psak that said that mond made a chilul hashem by going to the courts, a psak that said it all, how honest and intelligent they are. as they were paid to sit as a beth din to look into issue of the election in Caulfield shule, but instead they sat for weeks (?) at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars from tzdoko money to talk about things that have no connection to this issue, they issued a psak about chillul hashem, that as a zabla they are allowed to issue a psak only about things that the sides of the dispute are able to be mochel, they issued a partial psak, when they were not given in the arbitration agreement the rights to issue a partial agreement.

    A decision of an arbitrator agreement becomes a court order only after the court approves his decision, and as the law specifies things that if breached make the arbitrators decision not valid, each side can appeal to the court, why the court should not approve it.

  • Marky says:

    Maybe my understanding was wrong. However, before I can accept all that you write, I would first need to hear other partys’ version

  • Yossi says:

    Dovid – have you addressed your concerns on this matter directly to the COSV?

  • dovid segal says:


    When you have done it, please inform us about your findings.


    No, I didn’t, as I think that the reason for not establishing the tribunal, is not the problem with women’s evidence, but dissagreement who will control the tribunal.

  • Marky says:

    Of course..

  • Joe in Australia says:

    If anyone wants to read the Caulfield Shul cases you can find them here:

    Dovid: The fact is you’re right: the law (in Victoria) allows arbitrators to be sued. On the face of it this is reasonable: you can sue other people who harm you carelessly or maliciously; why not arbitrators? On the other hand, the law doesn’t allow you to sue judges. There are very good reasons for this: we don’t want people to intimidate judges with the threat of legal action; and we don’t want judges to be forced to defend themselves from an endless string of cases brought by people who have lost cases.

    The problem faced by arbitrators is that they bear the same risks as judges even though they have none of their legal protection. It’s all very well to say that they should be “sued if they are dishonest and distort the law”, but the problem is that you don’t get to say that they will only be sued if they are actually dishonest. They can be sued by anyone – even someone who has lost fairly and squarely. And this is why it’s relatively easy to find conciliation and mediation services in Victoria, but hard to find arbitrators. It’s simply too risky for them. I suspect that this is why you can get synagogue rabbis to sit on a Zabla or Beit Din, but you can’t find lawyers or other professionals: synagogue rabbis don’t understand the risks.

  • Caulfield Shulgoer says:

    As a C.H.C member, I found Dovid Segals article very interesting.

    However, the establishment of a Religious Arbitration Tribunal in order to resolve financial disputes, has got nothing to do with the issues that were the basis for David Mond going to court.

    As someone who took a great interest at the time the events took place, I made it my business to hear both sides of the story. And I came to the conclusion very early on, that if it was not for the stupidity and intransigence of the Board of Management and their ego driven and desperate desire to hold on to power at any cost at that time, the “problem” would have been resolved in 24 hours, and it is most likely that the board that was running the C.H.C. at that time, would have won the election and they and Rabbi Abraham would still be there.

    Here is a reasonably brief summary.

    Some time before the dispute occurred, a former Board of Management of the CHC decided to become an Incorporated Association. When this was adopted, the CHC became the CHC Incorporated. This bound the Board Members to observe ALL the rules and regulations that come with being an Incorporated Association.

    One of those regulations is that the Incorporated Association must keep an up to date legal members register. If it does not have one, and wants to call an election, then it cannot conduct the election until the members register is legally up to date. Mond and a number of others, wanted to contest the election in September of 2000. He went to the office to get the register as he and his fellow candidates wanted to write to the members and include any election material such as their policies etc.

    Mond was told that there was no members register. When he said that the Board could therefore not conduct the election until they had one, he was told by the Honorary secretary at the time, and this is the evidence which I have read that took place in the very first court case, ” don’t tell us how to run the Shul”. Mond has always maintained, and correctly so, that this had nothing whatsoever to do with the running of the “Shul”. In fact, it was about the legal conduct of an election by an organisation that was an Incorporated Association.

    As it was explained to me at the time by a number of people, Mond rang his lawyer to seek advice. His lawyer told him to see what the Constitution of the CHC incorporated said. It says, and you can read it yourself, that if a member has a problem, he/she can go before a grievance committee to be heard. Mond asked to appear before the committee, only to be told there wasn’t one. Another example of not adhering to the law. His lawyer then consulted the Incorporated Associations Act, and the act says that when what happened to Mond happens, you go before a Magistrate to have the matter resolved, because that is the dispute resolution process prescribed under Victorian law.

    I know for a fact, that a number of lawyers that daven in the Shul told members of the Executive and Board, that Mond was right and that they should just do what they were legally obligated to do.

    Mond asked his lawyer to issue a summons to the Secretary of the CHC to appear in the magistrates Court, I think it was in a weeks time, and to produce a legal members register. The summons said something to the effect that if they didn’t, Mond would seek an injunction preventing the election going ahead until there was a legal register.

    Of course, upon receiving the summons, the Board and Rabbi Abraham were in uproar, and there was a major outcry. Rabbi Abraham declared Mond a rasha. It was most unfortunate that he did. As a paid employee of the CHC, he should have stayed out. But that’s what happens when you are young and inexperienced, and have a conflict of interest.

    It is well known that there were at least two attempts made to settle the dispute prior to it going to court. With the last one being on the Sunday before the Monday court case, at Rabbi Heilbruns House. The Rabbi had agreed to mediate. Mond came to the house but Rabbi Abraham, according to a board member I spoke to at the time, prevented anyone from the board appearing.

    There was a question at the time over whether or not Mond had a Heter to go to court. Monds Rabbi, is Rabbi Mottel Krasnjanski of Or Chadash which is part of CHC and where Mond, to this day, davens.

    Mond received his Heter, after Rabbi Krasnjanski had consulted with his father-in-law Rabbi Lieberman, the chief Rabbi of Antwerp and a world renowned Posek. Whilst it it is true that Mond issued his summons prior to receiving his Heter, Rabbi Lieberman ruled that this was not a problem because Mond was only going to court to obtain an injunction in order to prevent an illegal act from occurring. He quoted, Rabbi Fienstein Zichrono Tsadik Livracha, as his source that an injunction is NOT a court case. All of this information appeared in the A.J.N. at the time, and makes perfect sense to those who want it to make perfect sense.

    Mond went to court. In a last minute move, Rabbi Abraham appeared for the C.H.C. No one else appeared, and they did not have a lawyer appearing for them. His testimony is on the record. In it, he urged the Magistrate to allow the election to go ahead even if it was illegal. It’s been done like that for 30 years he said and he also said that he would personally look after the election.

    The Magistrate was, and rightly so, unmoved by this testimony.

    Now we really come to the crux of the matter. I would like to think that the readers of this forum are normal intelligent human beings. If the Board had a legal register, commonsense would dictate that they would have come to court and presented it to the Magistrate. They did not have one, so they couldn’t. The Judge therefore had no option but to grant the injunction.

    A board meeting was called for that night. Friends of mine who were on the board at that time, have told me that Rabbi Abraham was ranting and raving that Mond needed to be thrown into Cherem. Wouldn’t you think that normal intelligent individuals, even as upset as they were at losing in Court, would have said to each other, look, we lost in Court, we can’t conduct our election, we will have to postpone it until we can produce a legal register of members and give it to the Magistrate so that he will lift the injunction.

    They did not. They tried to have Mond banned from Davening and blowing the Shofar on Rosh Hashana which was to commence that Friday night. A two day court case ensued and the magistrate at the end of it, granted a further injunction that prevented anyone interfering in David Mond’s rights to lead the services, act as the Gabbai and blow the Shofar at Or Chadash.

    The rest as they say, is history. There was a Din Torah conducted by the Dayanim, in which Justice Dodds Streeton of the Supreme Court of Victoria,found on appeal by David Mond, and his brother Barry, that the Dayanim had seriously misconducted themselves. You can read the transcript of her judgement on the net. You will note, that the Dayanim have been ordered by the court to pay back their fees to the CHC INC. This, upon my questioning of a current Board member, has, to this day, not been done. Apparently, the amount is in excess of $100,000. One may ask why we ordinary folk should follow the law, when those that are held in esteem and sit on Dinei Torah thumb their collective noses at a court order and authority.

    The whole mess cost the CHC an estimated 2.5 million dollars. It depends who I talk to as to what figure I get, but it’s around that total. The old board was subsequently defeated at a lawful election conducted by a Q.C.

    Our congregation now has a Gentleman Rabbi, a world class Chazan, an active, decent Board, and a waiting list for seats in the main Shul. We have conducted two world class concerts at the Shul and there are daily activities for every age group. Hineni are now also an integral part of our Shul.

    Almost all the old board have left the Shul.

    It is to be hoped that all Jewish organizations will take heed of what happened in this case. Act within the law, and they won’t have a problem. Act outside the law, and they will deserve all that our legal system can bring down upon them.

    It is insufficient to create a Beth Din with the specific power to be able to resolve financial disputes. Every Jewish Community requires a Beth Din that is rigidly independent and has the capacity to deal with all disputes that may involve administrative and other unlawful conduct that finds their genesis in the boards of management of our communal organisations.

    It should also be able to give directives to Rabbis who seek to exercise their power outside of their jurisdiction and prevent conflicts of interest.

    And that is how you “avoid another Mond case.”

  • Malki Rose says:

    So in essence, are you saying (and I would agree if you are) that all that is required is for the success of any Religious Tribunal (and its processes) would be for it to remain transparent, legally run, incorruptible and, most importantly, to never think itself above the law, secular or Torah?

  • Marky says:

    Caulfield Shulgoer: “A former board of management of the CHC decided to become an incorporated association”

    Don’t you mean “decided that ‘CHC should become’ an incorporated association”?

  • dovid segal says:

    joe in Australia

    The reason that you can find rabbis on a Zabla or Beit Din, but you can’t find there lawyers or other professionals isn’t the risk of being sued, but because that people were told by rabbis, that only rabbis are permitted to sit on a zabla are rabbis.

  • Caulfield Shulgoer says:

    Correct, Malki,but i can’t see it happening anytime soon here in Melbourne.

    Also correct Marky, that’s what I meant to say. I found out last night that CHC became an Incorporated Association in 1988.

  • Malki Rose says:

    Well, on that basis it would seem that we have true answer to Dovid Segal’s question of why we NEED a religious tribunal, but sadly, also the reason why we don’t.

    Assumably the process would need to be completely devoid of money to give it a fighting chance at impartiality and ‘vested interests’.

  • Marky says:

    Caulfield Shul goer: From what you write, it seems to me that the former board of management that decided to become an incorporated association, either didn’t know or didn’t pass on the responsibilities that this entails. The board which was dealing with the Mond case, was quite a few years down the road from this incorporation and-from what you say- seemed to have no idea. I am not saying who was right and who wrong, but could it be that Mr. Mond and co.(is he a lawyer?) took advantage of this situation?

    Of course, in hindsight one might say that the board should have made it their business to know, but there are many Shul committees who would not know legalities.

  • anon says:

    Bottom line:
    Can someone name 4 or 5 Rabbonim in this town who:

    (a) Are qualified to arbitrate such cases
    (b) Are respected enough by a sizeable proportion of the community to ensure people will not just scoff at them and head straight to the courts

    Once we have this, then the COSV/JCCV/RCV and all other CVs will only need to market a ‘world class’ authoratitve body

  • Marky says:

    Anon, Choshen Mishpat is a specialist area. I am not aware of anyone here who is a mumcha, let alone 4 or 5. And even if there were such experts and they did everything above board, you can be sure that there will be those plaintiffs who would never be satisfied, because in their minds they cannot be wrong and they will scoff and head to the courts. It happens regularly overseas. You can please some of the people some of the time…..

  • dovid segal says:


    A few years ago in a case, in the family court in Melbourne, a women appealed to the family court that he should force her husband to give her a get, both sides submitted affidavits from rabbonim, the affidavit on behalf of the wife was from a shule rabbi who is known to be a “gadol hador” or less, who signed that he is a shule rabbi and a … of the rcv, and the affidavit on behalf of the husband, was from a chabadnik, that wasn’t a shule rabbi, but signed that he is a dayan who was ordained by the lubavicher yeshiva in new york, and when the judge asked the shule rabbi what is “lubavitch”, he answered: “a fringe group that believes that their rebbe is the moshiach”.

    How many of the members of the CVs of our day, haven’t been there in the days of the Mond dispute, and didn’t do anything?

    why should we think that they want a tribunal so it will bring peace, and not to protect their behinds?

  • Caulfield Shulgoer says:

    Marky, David Mond is not a Lawyer. He is an accountant. You obviously didn’t read my post properly, where I clearly state that Mond consulted his Lawyer.

    As for your, and I apologize in advance for saying this, ridiculous statement about the Board that was in control in 2000 not knowing their obligations, and about Shul Committees not knowing their “legalities”, you actually answer your statement yourself when you say “they should have made it their business to know”.

    It is incumbent upon EVERY individual that decides to seek election to become a member of a board of an organisation, to ensure that they know exactly what their responsibilities and legal obligations are to themselves and the members of the Board that they are joining.

    Being a member of a board is not a joke. Even though some people do it for personal ego reasons. This case will go a long way, I hope, to ensuring that only those who have the organisation that they are representing at heart and are prepared to work hard and carry out their responsibilities legally and profesionally, will join Boards of Management.

    And finally, the Board had at their disposal Mr. Andrew Romer who was the honorary solicitor for the CHCInc. and, I am reliably informed, sat in on all Board meetings at the time and advised the Board of their legal obligations.

    The simple fact is, that there was no excuse for what happened. It was incumbent upon the CHC to have a legal up to date Members Register before they could conduct their election. They did not have one. Even if you want to say that their lawyer did not give them any advice about this obligation, once the Magistrate had ordered them to produce a legal members register, then it was incumbent upon them to do it. They did not.

    And the rest as they say, is very unfortunate history.

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