216 MIZAN LAW REVIEW, Vol. 9, No.2 December 2015
Development pursuits envisage a predictable, coherent, efficient, effective and
accessible justice system which, inter alia, ensures contract enforcement,
(clearly defined, secure and easily transferable) property rights, access to justice
and a normative and institutional setting in the context of good governance. The
justice system is constituted of a legal and judicial system which are inter-
related and whose performance and effectiveness are inter-dependent. “An
efficient legal and judicial system which delivers quick and quality justice
reinforces the confidence of people in the rule of law, facilitates investment and
production of wealth, enables better distributive justice, promotes basic human
rights and enhances accountability and democratic governance”.1
The 2005 Baseline Study Report of Ethiopia’s Ministry of Capacity Building,
i.e. the Comprehensive Justice System Reform Program (CJSRP) 2 states four
core components and a fifth crosscutting component of comprehensive Justice
Sector Reform. They are (a) lawmaking and revision; (b) the judiciary; (c) law
enforcement which includes prosecutors, the police and the penitentiary system;
(d) legal education and research; and (e) information flow within and outside the
This article is an overview of post-2002 reform pursuits in one of the
components of the justice system, i.e., the judiciary. The first section highlights
the political and economic factors that influence judicial empowerment.
Sections 2 and 3 assesses the judicial reform pursuits since 2002 which are
embodied in JSRP, in Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plans and in the
strategic plan of federal courts for the GTP II period. The fourth section
compares the projects under the judicial reform sub-program that was underway
during the GTP I period with the projects that relate to the judiciary in the
strategic plan of the Good Governance Reform Cluster for the GTP II period.
Section 5 briefly indicates the independence of the judiciary in a democratic
developmental state, followed by the sixth section which highlights current
public perception and trust in the judiciary. The article can inspire further
research on specific themes related with judicial reform.
1 Report and Recommendations of the Wor king Group for Department of Justice for the
12th Five-Year Plan (2012-2017), Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice,
Government of India, September 2011.
2 Ministry of Capacity Building, Justice System Reform Program Office (2005),
Comprehensive Justice System Reform Program Baseline Study Report, February 2005.