• Mizan Law Review

St. Mary's University College
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Mizan Law Review publishes peer reviewed scholarly articles that identify, examine, explore and analyze legal and related principles, stipulations and concepts based on research findings. Mizan’s articles aim at interpretation, description, exploration and diagnosis towards the solution of problems (or legal issues) including proactive critique and projection that assist the development of laws.

Latest documents

  • Comment: Legal Issues regarding the NBE Guideline on Diaspora-Owned Shares in Banks

    This comment examines the legality of Guideline No. FIS/01/2016 issued by the National Bank of Ethiopia (on November 1st, 2016) regarding the relinquishing of shares in banks owned by foreign nationals of Ethiopian origin. It is argued that at the time of the auction, an Ethiopian born foreign national remains to be the owner of the share unless it is proved that ownership is acquired fraudulently or with criminal intention. One can only sell what he/she/it owns, and, the owners of the shares (to be relinquished in accordance with the NBE Guideline) are clearly the shareholders in whose name the shares were registered, and in effect, they are entitled to the premiums obtained during the transfer of shares by auction. If the initial acquisition of shares is considered improper, ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ and thus, the proper procedures for redeeming or repurchasing of shares under the Commercial Code should have been pursued upon the exit of the shareholders, in the absence of which the path taken by the NBE Guideline constitutes an act of sequestration, expropriation or forced purchase.

  • Comment: Major Differences between the Revised ?Federal' and SNNP Regional State Family Codes

    There are two sets of family codes currently applicable in Ethiopia, the Revised Family Code and the family codes of regional states. These sets are compatible on numerous issues of family matters, and are also different on few issues. This comment outlines the major differences between the RFC with that of the SNNP Regional State Family Code. This comment indicates eight areas where the two codes have differences. The RFC has omitted the notion of betrothal whereas the SNNP regional state family law contains detail rules that govern it. Moreover, the RFC is silent regarding marriage celebrated in the cities where the RFC is applicable (i.e. Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa) while the SNNP Regional State Family Code does not apply to marriage celebrated outside the SNNP regional state. There is also variation between the RFC and the SNNP regional state family codes concerning relations in consanguinity and affinity, assessment of compensation following dissolution of marriage, proof of marriage, conditions to claim maintenance as well as salary and pension.

  • SHARING THOUGHTS: What is the Jail Man Doing?
  • Unsustainable Land Use due to ?Catching Up' Investment Pursuits in Ethiopia: The Need for Planning, Zoning and other Regulations

    Zoning and land use regulations accommodate and balance various interests which relate to urbanization, food security, enhanced livelihoods, industrialization and globalization, in the context of sustainable development. Unlike comparative practices in other countries, Ethiopia has no comprehensive and codified zoning law even though the zoning stage affects the subsequent stages. Ethiopia has not yet issued an integrated national land use policy. There is also a rush toward massive acquisition of land for investments and proliferation of industrial parks. This is clearly meant to catch up with the plans and aspirations under Ethiopia‟s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) I and II. This article examines the relevant laws and the rush toward land acquisitions and the haphazard decisions thereof vis-à-vis the need for sustainability through a multimodal and integrationist approach. There are constitutional issues with regard to decentralizing local development plans and land administration versus centralizing tendencies in land-investment administration and designation of industrial parks. It is argued that there are gaps in the three-tier stages of (i) Planning and Zoning, (ii) Acquisition and (iii) Performance Requirements, thereby necessitating reform towards the integrated and balanced implementation of these three stages. The political commitment for „catching up‟ pursuits should not be at the expense of constitutional rights and issues of sustainability. There is thus the need for an informed decision-making process that accommodates multitude of interests.

  • Comment: Mandatory Compensation to Commercial Agents upon Termination of Agency under Ethiopian Law

    The Ethiopian Commercial Code recognizes mandatory compensation if agency agreement for an indefinite period of time is terminated due to the fault of the principal; and the Draft Commercial Code is likely to maintain this approach. This comment examines the status and functions of a commercial agent as well as the compensation due to the agent upon the termination of the commercial agency. I argue that there should be mandatory compensation upon the termination of agency relations for both definite and indefinite period of time unless the agency relation is terminated due to the fault of the agent that justifies termination of a contract. This is justified by comparative experience in the legal regimes of Germany, France, Britain, the European Union, Turkey and some international conventions on agency relations.

  • Sovereignty, Legitimacy and Fundamental Rights as Limitations to Criminalisation Power of the State

    Sovereignty is a doctrine of power that constitutes and vests supreme political power in the state, including criminal lawmaking power. However, this supreme power of exercising coercive state power through the criminal law is not unlimited. Because the justifications for sovereignty are also justifications for criminal lawmaking power of the state, they are discussed together. After presenting the justification and legitimacy of sovereignty and the criminal lawmaking power of the sovereign, this article discusses criminalization power of the state in three parts: the limitation inherent in the notion of sovereignty, in constitutionalism and the bill of rights. Finally, it reviews the practice of criminalisation in Ethiopia.

  • Comment: Risk Allocation Norms of Civil Construction Contracts in Ethiopia

    Risk is any uncertainty in an industry including the construction sector. Claims and disputes arise when risks occur in construction projects. This comment discusses risk allocation under Ethiopian construction law and examines risks in civil construction contracts. The comment highlights the gaps in risk allocation norms under the standard format of construction contract that was issued by the Ethiopian Ministry of Work and Urban Development (MoWUD) in 1994. I argue that MoWUD’s principles of risk allocation should be updated so that they can include employer insurance and embody provisions that adequately regulate legal risks which can arise from amendment of laws.

  • Legal and Practical Aspects of Child Custody, Visitation and Maintenance: A Case Study in SNNP Regional State

    Although divorce disrupts the marital bond thereby terminating marital rights and obligations, each parent’s obligations to the wellbeing and upbringing of children (custody, visitation rights, and maintenance) persists. This article examines the practice of courts with regard to child custody, visitation rights and obligation to supply maintenance in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) Regional State. The experience of various court decisions in SNNP Regional State with respect to these matters is explored. Since the laws do not have detailed provisions that regulate the various issues of child custody, visitation and child support, there is inconsistency in judicial decisions. Many decisions do not distinguish between physical and legal custody. As a result, the legal and physical custody of the child usually rest on the same person. With regard to visitation, there is variation in court decisions although the conventional arrangement seems standard visitation. In some cases, courts specify the duration and form of visitation. However, in many cases, courts do not indicate how and when visitation shall be allowed. There are cases where courts overlook the issue of visitation. There is also inconsistency in court decisions with regard to child support. These problems call for detail provisions to ensure consistency and predictability in child custody, visitation and child support decisions.

  • Public Interest Environmental Litigation in Ethiopia: Factors for its Dormant and Stunted Features

    Public interest environmental litigation (PIEL) has been introduced into the Ethiopian legal system since 2002 with the prime purpose of facilitating and complementing the environmental protection efforts of the country. However, little progress has been recorded in utilizing this innovative litigation tool. The purpose of this article is to examine the legal and policy frameworks for PIEL and investigate some of the main factors impeding its effective use for the promotion and protection of the environment rights in Ethiopia. Laws related to PIEL are examined and interviews and discussions with the relevant stakeholders are conducted with regard to environmental management in Ethiopia. I argue that even though the legal and policy framework for PIEL, with all its limitations, is in place, gaps in judicial activism, legal culture, political will, public perception towards law, judicial process and justice, the type of legal system, the perception and behavior of the government towards civil society, and inadequate environmental information have adversely affected the development of PIEL.

  • Globalization of Patent Laws through Trade Agreements, and Pressures on Ethiopia's Patent Regime: The Passenger behind the Wheel

    Given that patent law emerged in domestic systems, there was an obvious diversity of patent regimes. With the advent of cross-border movement of resources, including inventions, there was a need for a harmonized patent regime. The issue went to another level with the entry into force of the WTO/TRIPS Agreement, which requires WTO members to enact new patent laws or amend existing ones to make them TRIPS compliant. The Ethiopian Patent Law, which was enacted in 1995, is strangely TRIPS compliant, tempting many to think that it had Ethiopia‟s forthcoming accession in mind. However, with Ethiopia yet to complete the accession process, there are further pressures from industrialized countries to ensure that stringent patent rules are complied with in developing countries. This article examines TRIPS, the Cotonou Agreement and AGOA as effective instruments of ensuring compliance. It is argued that the Ethiopian patent system will continue to observe TRIPS and other standards as dictated by the Global North.

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