Whose law is it anyway? The case of matrimonial property in Israel

Sharon Shakargy*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is often argued that courts avoid foreign laws because they prefer local law. It would make sense if they did - after all, foreign law can be hard to understand and complicated to employ, and it is also⋯ foreign. Aiming to investigate this assumption through a qualitative analysis of all available cases on one question and comparing the findings with the approach towards local matrimonial property cases in Israel, this Article finds something rather different. At least as regards Israeli judges discussing matrimonial property, it appears that sometimes judges do not prefer the lex fori but something else. The Article discusses one case that reveals what could be described as a judicial mutiny, where judges chose to apply neither foreign law nor local law per se. In the case of matrimonial property, a particular legal norm seems particularly close to the judges' hearts. So much so that despite legislative intervention designed to change the judicially-shaped law, the courts continue to apply their own, judicially created law.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)165-190
Number of pages26
JournalTheoretical Inquiries in Law
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I thank Celia Fassberg for her patient reading and smart comments, as always; Keren Weinshall and Daphna Hacker for their helpful advice regarding the empirical work; the participants of the Global Law Market conference at Tel Aviv University and the private law workshop at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for their helpful comments; and Tsila Horowitz for research assistance. I also thank the TIL editorial board for their comments and suggestions. The research was supported by the Aharon Barak Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, as well as Israel Science Foundation grant no. 835/2018. Cite as: Sharon Shakargy, Whose Law is it Anyway? The Case of Matrimonial Property in Israel, 23 Theoretical Inquiries L. 165 (2022). *

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by Theoretical Inquiries in Law.


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