Q: What is the status of Jewish civil courts, such as those in the State of Israel?
A: The Chazon Ish (Sanhedrin 15:4) and many other authorities ruled emphatically that although the judges in these courts are Jewish, they are not included in “that you should place before them” (Shemos 21:1). This is because they do not rule according to the Jewish law system but according to a conflicting code of civil law, which draws also from secular perspectives.
Furthermore, Jewish civil courts are included in the parallel exclusion, “before them and not before hedyotos (commoners).” The prohibition remains even if both parties agree and even if there is communal acceptance.
Thus, other than in certain cases (to be addressed later), a person is not allowed to adjudicate before them; one is required to approach a halachic beis din for adjudication. There are now many halachic batei din operating in Israel, and also in the U.S. and other countries.