Monday, May 4, 2009

The second in the series on the state of law and economics across Europe

Recent developments of law and economics in Israel

by Oren Gazal-Ayal, ph.d, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Haifa University

Law and Economics is definitely the leading methodology in current Israeli legal scholarship. It is even more popular than in the United States, where it originated. Per population, Israeli participation in the American Law and Economics Association and in its European parallel is several times higher than participation of American or European scholars. A similar picture can be found when examining Israeli participation in writing papers in law and economics journals. See Law and economics language and discourse are entrenched in every legal discussion in Israel, even among strong opponents of this methodology.
Law and economics is also embedded in the core curriculum of Israeli law schools. In every tort, contract and property core course, the basic law and economics arguments are discussed. The four leading law schools in Israeli universities usually offer more than one law and economics course to their students. Many Israeli law students study for a degree in economics while pursuing their law degree. In some law schools, a course in economics and basic concepts of law and economics is obligatory. The Haifa Law School is also a participant in the European Master Program in Law and Economics. Leading law and economics scholars originally from Israel are current faculty members in American law schools including Harvard, Yale, Chicago, NYU, Virginia, Northwestern and more. Law and economics is also popular among economists in Israel, although to a lesser degree.
The popularity of law and economics has also penetrated the legal discourse in Israeli courts, and the Israeli Supreme Court often refers to the leading scholarship in economic analysis of law, though sometimes it does so while adopting the views of its critiques. However, since an increasing number of judges, lawyers and law clerks have been educated in the highly law-and-economics friendly law schools, one can observe a slow and persistent increase in the tendency to openly adopt economic arguments in legal opinions.
For more details about the popularity of law and economics in the Israeli academia, and for an explanation of this unique phenomenon see: "Economic Analysis of Law in North America, Europe and Israel".

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