2014 Laureates of Emet Prize
In Category: Social Sciences
In Field: Law
Professor Ariel Porat was born in Tel Aviv in 1956. In Zahal he served in the intelligence and holds the rank of Major (Res.). He received his LLB degrees (1983) and PhD (1989) from Tel Aviv University. He then spent a year at Yale Law School as a visiting scholar. He joined Tel Aviv University Faculty of Law in 1990 and served as its Dean from 2002-2006. As Dean, he established two new International LLM programs, one with Berkeley University and the other with Northwestern University. He also established the special admittance program for distinguished students from peripheral parts of Israel, which was eventually adopted by all faculties in Tel Aviv University. He is currently Alain Poher Professor of Law at Tel Aviv University and Fischel-Neil Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. He was also a Visiting Professor at the University of Berkeley, Columbia University, New York University and the University of Virginia. He is a member of the American Law Institute and a former board member of the American Law and Economics Association. He was the Director of the Cegla Center for Interdisciplinary Research of the Law and is the founder of the journal Theoretical Inquiries in Law, which is ranked as one of the best theoretical law journals in the world.
His research is focused on tort law as well as on other fields in private law. In his first book he proposed the adoption of a comparative fault defense in contract law, resulting in sharing the responsibility for breach of contract between the parties. His proposal was later adopted by the Israel Supreme Court and has since become the prevailing law in Israel. In another book (co-authored with A. Stein) and series of articles, he analyzed various solutions to tortious events where courts lack information regarding the materialization of harm which allegedly results from the wrongdoing. His writings influenced both theoretical legal thinking and court decisions dealing with uncertainty in tort law.
For his research he won the Cheshin Prize (2010) and the Zeltner Prize (2012). He also won the Zusman Prize for Young Scholars (1991) and the Rector Teaching Distinction (2010). In 2014 he was elected as a member of the Israel Academy of Sciences