Course Descriptions & Faculty

Course Descriptions & Faculty

Michal Alberstein

Theory and Practice of Comparative Judicial Conflict Resolution

Dr. Michal Alberstein

In the past few decades, the role of judges has changed dramatically, yet its nature has remained largely unexplored. To date, most cases settle or reach plea-bargaining, and the greater part of judges' time is spent on managing cases and encouraging parties to reach consensual solutions. Adjudication based on formal rules is a rare phenomenon which judges mostly avoid. This course explores the role of judges in an age if vanishing trials, both in the criminal and the civil setting and discusses it in reference to four legal systems: Israel, Italy, England and Wales and the US.  It examines judges’ new roles in reference to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms such as mediation, arbitration and restorative justice, and compares the regulative systems which enables the new practices performed by judges. The assumption underling the course is that the various Conflict Resolution methods, which are used outside the courtroom, as alternatives to adjudication, could have a strong and positive influence, both theoretical and practical, on judicial activities inside the courts. The Judicial Conflict Resolution (JCR) Perspective suggests that judges are often parties to the negotiation as to whether to adjudicate the legal conflict, third parties in an effort to mediate it, arbitrators as to guiding rules of compromise, as well as facilitators of dialogue, problem solvers and dispute designers. The hybridity of their conflict resolution work is related both to the variety of processes that judges use and to the fact that they are performed in the shadow of authority. The course combines simulations, training for courtroom observations, short videos, and interactive engagement with the research team of the JCR collaborators, which is sponsored by a grant from the European Research Council (ERC).

Ori Aronson

Pluralism and Adjudication

Dr. Ori Aronson

The purpose of the course is to verse students in descriptive and normative accounts of pluralism in law, and to explore its application to the institutional design of structures of adjudication along multiple axes, such as religious-secular, local-national, generalist-specialized, centralized-diffuse. The course will review the main conceptualizations of legal pluralism, both as a sociological construct and as a prescription in liberal thought, and engage their critiques. We will then explore several test cases in the design of adjudication, in contexts with comparative application from both Israel and the U.S., which reveal the interactions between the rule of law, access to justice, and the accommodation of difference. Both choice in jurisdictional delimitation and in the formation of decision-making bodies and processes will be discussed. Among the topics that will be examined: public and private religious dispute resolution and its relation to secular adjudication; diffuse vs. concentrated judicial review; localism, federalism, and globalism as pluralism. 

Neil H. Cogan

Dignity Jurisprudence in Israel I

Dr. Neil H. Cogan

The course examines the protections for civil and human rights in the State of Israel as understood through the laws of Israel’s K’nesset, particularly the Basic Laws, and the decisions of the Israel Supreme Court sitting as the High Court of Justice. The topics are, in large part, comparable to those in Constitutional Law courses taught in the United States. In Dignity Jurisprudence in Israel I, the course covers dignity protections for individuality and equality. The course contrasts and compares protections in Israel with those in the United States, discusses the cultural and historical traditions that explain different approaches, and evaluates the status of civil liberty and prospects for reform in both countries.

Neil H. Cogan

Dignity Jurisprudence in Israel II

Dr. Neil H. Cogan

This course is a continuation of Dignity Jurisprudence in Israel I, although the latter course is not a prerequisite for enrollment and stands alone. The course examines Israel’s dignity protections for labor, property, religion, and procedural fairness. The approach to the topics is the same as described above.

Miriam Marcowitz-Bitton

Comparative IP Law

Dr. Miriam Marcowitz-Bitton

This course examines selected topics in intellectual property law, approaching them from a comparative perspective. It looks at the way controversial issues of IP law and policy are being handled in Israel, Europe (mainly the EU) and in the US in order to identify similarities and differences and to analyze their causes and their implications in a globalized world. The course takes a particular interest in the actors involved in IP law and policy-making and in the design of alternative decision-making processes, in which IP law and policy are shaped and enforced (political, judicial and administrative processes). The goal is to provide a better understanding of how the dynamic of actor participation influences substantive outcomes and the scope of IP rights. The course will touch upon the following themes: digital copyright and the responsibility of Internet Intermediaries for copyright enforcement; the changing role of collecting societies; copyright exceptions and limitations; and the position of the digital consumer. The emphasis is on copyright law and institutions, but the course also explores other IP controversies within the area of patent, trademark and unfair competition law.

Haim Shapira

Jewish Law and the State of Israel

Dr. Haim Shapira

Jewish law is the historical and religious legal system of the Jewish people. Israel was established as a modern democratic state and developed a secular legal system of its own. The course will describe and analyze the interrelations between Jewish Law and the State of Israel. Following a short review of Jewish law history and sources we will present the challenge that was posed to Jewish law with the establishment of the State of Israel. We will then see how Jewish law (in fact rabbinic authorities) deals with this challenge. Does it accept the laws made by the Knesset and to what extent? On the other hand, we will examine how Israeli law relates to Jewish law. What place was given to Jewish law by the legislature and how courts and judges interpreted it?