I’m working as a clerk in a law firm in Yerushalaim that handles some civil litigation and I was wondering if there are general guidlines regarding the heteirim to claim in arkaos. I realize this might be a complicated shailo but it would be helpful to know if/when I can take part in these cases.
This is a somewhat complex issue.
In general, it is not permitted to make a claim in arka’os under any circumstances apart from where the Beis Din options have been exhausted. After the Beis Din options fail, the relevant Beis Din will issue a Heiter to go to arka’os.
However, this does not mean that you cannot take part in all cases that come to court without a Heiter from Beis Din.
Where you are representing the defendant, it is certainly permitted to take part in the case, and this does not raise any halachic issues.
Even when representing the plaintiff, there are many instances where there will be room for leniency, for instance in cases of corporations that are dealt with according to corporation law, and which Beis Din usually doesn’t have the tools to deal with, or cases of labor law (severance pay and so on) that are often dealt with in special courts of law based on the particular labor laws of the relevant location.
Even where the plaintiff is clearly transgressing the prohibition of going to arka’os, you don’t have to lose your job if asked to work of the case (there is no prohibition of lifnei iver, because he’s anyway going to court), but you should try to avoid doing so.
Best wishes and good luck.