Peter A Allard School of Law

How Judges Judge - Judicial Decision Making in Israel


What are the considerations guiding judges when resolving legal disputes? Do their ideologies impact rulings and how much? What are the effects of institutional considerations? And how do cognitive biases, career aspirations or emotional factors influence judges? We will discuss answers given to these questions by the five main theories on judging, with insights and examples from the Israeli judiciary. The talk will focus on a new study, exploiting a natural (near-randomized) experiment in the Israeli judiciary that is designed to test the effects of reduced caseload on gender and ethnic-based disparities in the courtroom. Results shed new light on theories of judicial decision making and judicial bias in particular


Keren Weinshall is the Vice-Dean at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Faculty of Law, holds the Edward S. Silver Chair in Civil Procedure and is a member of The Israeli Young Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Prior to joining the law faculty, Weinshall served as the Founding Director of the Israeli Courts Research Division and the national expert representing the State of Israel at the European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) in the Council of Europe (2010-2014). Previously, Weinshall worked as a legal adviser to the Israeli Parliament’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee (2003-2007). Weinshall specializes in empirical research on socio-legal institutions. Her research is published in leading journals, including the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (JELS) and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


  • Allard School of Law
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