The Sermon on the Mount contains this advice to stay out of the legal system:
Agree with your adversary quickly while you are with him on the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there until you have paid the last penny. (Matthew 5:25-26, World English Bible)
Presumably this is advice being given to Jews in Galilee, somewhere around the "evangelical triangle" area near Capernaum, and the listeners are mostly illiterate Aramaic-speaking peasants. The tetrarch Herod Antipater rules Galilee and Perea as Roman client states. The seat of local government is the newly built capital Tiberias, about 10 miles away. There is a Jewish council, the Sanhedrin, in Jerusalem, about a week's journey on foot. Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, 20.9.1) describes an example of a capital trial by the Sanhedrin for a religious case that arose in Jerusalem. (Are the "prosecutor" ἀντίδικος, "judge" κριτής, and "officer" ὑπηρέτης terms for specific Roman offices?)
This passage from the Sermon on the Mount seems to be describing a scenario in which someone brings a civil suit, but the end result is that they end up convicted in criminal court. (I was not under the impression that it was common in the ancient world for criminal convicts to be punished by being put in anything like a prison. Wouldn't most offenses be punished by something like execution, enslavement, or a fine?)
The dire outcome is obviously hyperbole, but I'm trying to understand the real-world social circumstances that would even make the advice of interest to Jesus's audience. If this passage does refer to something like our modern notion of bringing a civil suit, is it realistic to imagine Galilean peasants even pondering doing such a thing? Would they have any access to law courts or a legal process? Access in theory but not in practice? I'm guessing that these people would all be slaves or peregrini, the latter theoretically subject to what WP describes as "customary laws and courts of their civitas" (as opposed to the Roman law courts, which were for Roman citizens). I don't imagine that Jesus can be describing an informal village council of elders, since he uses terms for officers of the court.