About Us

Private law structures the legal building blocks that most profoundly affect our social and economic life, notably property, contract, and torts as well as central aspects of family law, trust law, work law, and more.

It thus governs our relationships with each other in arguably the most important spheres of our lives: in the market, the workplace, the neighborhood, and intimate relations. Private law theories develop conceptual and normative analyses of these building blocks and critically investigate their meanings, their interrelationships, their varied institutionalizations, and their implications in these and other social settings.

The theory of private law has a proud legacy stretching back to antiquity, which has been continually renewed and updated. The need for a new generation of private law theory has become all the more acute given questions and challenges posed by rapid technological change, economic globalization, and the rise of new forms of family and personal relations.

The Berkeley Center for Private Law Theory promotes interdisciplinary research on these themes. We organize a variety of activities designed to stimulate dialogue, to exchange and advance knowledge, and to explore new ideas. Center for Private Law Theory aims to foster insights into the legal building blocks of our social and economic life and contribute to making them fair and just.



Hanoch Dagan

Professor of Law
Email: daganh@berkeley.edu

Hanoch Dagan
Professor Hanoch Dagan

Hanoch Dagan joined the Berkeley Law faculty in fall 2023 as a Professor of Law and the founding Director of the Berkeley Center for Private Law Theory. Professor Dagan writes and teaches primarily in the areas of private law theory, contracts, property, and legal theory. Among his many publications are over 120 articles in major law reviews and journals, such as Yale Law Journal, Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Columbia Law Review, Michigan Law Review, California Law Review, and more. Dagan is the author of seven books, including Property: Values and Institutions(opens in a new tab) (Oxford University Press, 2011), Reconstructing American Legal Realism & Rethinking Private Law Theory(opens in a new tab) (Oxford University Press, 2013), The Choice Theory of Contracts(opens in a new tab) (with Michael A. Heller) (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and A Liberal Theory of Property(opens in a new tab) (Cambridge University Press, 2021). He edited six book, including Properties of Property(opens in a new tab) (Wolters Kluwer, 2012) (with Gregory S. Alexander) and Research Handbook on Private Law Theory(opens in a new tab) (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2020) (with Benjamin Zipursky). Dagan is currently working on a new book: Relational Justice: A Theory of Private Law (forthcoming Oxford University Press, 2024) (with Avihay Dorfman).

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Advisory Board

Lee Anne Fennell, University of Chicago Law School
Mitu Gulati, Univeristy of Virginia School of Law
Martijn Hesselink, European University Institute
Katharina Pistor, Columbia Law School
Prince Saprai, University College London
Katrina Wyman, New York University School of Law