Codification was predominantly regarded as a radical reform in form and substance and ‘reform’ is one of the core features of continental European codification that Weiss has identified. The element of ‘reform’ is concerned with whether or not codification changes the form and substance of existing laws. By examining the five historical codifications, Weiss demonstrates that codification is always a combination of change in form and change in substance.
"No law, regulation, directive or practice shall, in so far as it is inconsistent with this Proclamation, have force or effect with respect to matters provided for by this Proclamation”.
Paradoxically, in most modern societies, the larger proportion of the law—delegated legislation—is not made by elected lawmakers or the proper legislature. To an increasing extent, law in these countries is made through the Executive branch, not the parliament. The common practice for Acts of Parliament to bestow power (through empowering acts) to make regulations, particularly to government Ministers, is an obvious manifestation of this development.
A historical and comparative study of continental European codification reveals that codification aims at being complete. Although ‘completeness’ has several implications in different literature, Weiss has identified three sub-elements of completeness in the sense of (a) exclusive, gap-less, and comprehensive as the second core feature of continental European codification. In this article each of these elements will be briefly discussed, followed by the analysis of the Ethiopian civil code.
How many countries have ‘Codes’ as a basic legal source in the world? In how many countries' legal systems does the term ‘Codification’ exist? Are there common features of codification used as a basis for comparison and analysis? Although the exact number of codes is uncertain today, the UNESCO-sponsored survey on the basic sources of various legal systems in 1957 reveals that from 110 countries 73 countries had legal sources called ‘codes’ and the work of ‘codification’. In other words, codification exists in 67 percent of known legal systems, each consisting of an average of 6 codes. This figure suggests that codification has become prevalent in most existing legal systems.
This piece provides a bird’s eye view of the draft proclamation on the Federal Courts with a particular focus on the issue of Cassation. Needless to say, the Ethiopian legal system typically follows a continental legal system as it mainly contains four substantive codes i.e., Civil Code, Criminal Code, Commercial Code, and Maritime Code, and two procedural codes i.e., Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Code. This implies that the decisions of courts will not have a binding and precedential value to settle future related cases.
Modernization relies on law as the means of transformation. In these great processes of transformation, day after day, many more demands for new legislation have been proposed as a reaction to different social, political, economic and environmental situations which seemingly develop independently or deliberately. Governments need effective laws to govern these transformation processes by which they achieve their political objectives and public policies. Such needs may originate from different sources such as different ministries, a commission of inquiry, politicians, pressure groups, or sometimes from donors.
Since posting this a few days ago my attention was brought to a Comment that was posted on Facebook. Since I have deactivated my account, the editor of the website copied and sent me the Comment. The Comment is by Abadir Ibrahim who wrote:
Looking for a file in my computer, I stumbled upon this that I wrote a year or so ago, in relation to a debate/conversation that I was having with friends on facebook. Now I said why not and posted it here.
Before considering the subject matter of this article, a brief explanation of the history of Ethiopian Codes and constitutional development is helpful because it focuses attention on the key issues that I would like to raise. The Ethiopian legal system constitutes the Constitution, international treaties, codified laws, and statues as a primary source of law. This essay, however, limits itself to codified laws and primary legislation.