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In the case that someone makes a certain claim before a court but requires a witness(es), however, the witnesses are deceased. Does that mean the person's claim has no bearing?

  • If they can't bring witnesses for any reason then what do you expect the court is supposed to do about it? Believe them anyway? – Double AA Feb 18 '15 at 8:24
  • There are cases when one of the parties "swears". And cases where one is not believed because he's a known liar and the other one can swear instead. Tractate Sh'vuot. If the case demands that he "requires" witnesses, that means if he doesn't have them he doesn't fulfil the requirement – CashCow Feb 18 '15 at 11:40
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In Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 140:4 we learn that there is no difference whether your witnesses are dead, non-existent or unreachable.

In all these cases they are treated as if they do not exist.

That fact that you once had witnesses seems to have no practical application in Halacha.

We actually have a fascinating case in Ketubos 23a (bottom of the Daf) where some people knew that witnesses existed, but they were overseas. Somebody took advantage of this fact and got a lenient ruling as if there were no witnesses.

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