ADVOCATES’ PROCLAMATION NO…/2019
WHEREAS it is of paramount importance to adequately regulate the advocates’ profession in the light of global and national changes;
WHEREAS, with due recognition that the Ethiopian legal infrastructure has lagged behind its rapid socio-economic transformation, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has embarked on a fundamental and wide-ranging effort of restructuring and reforming the existing laws and legal institutions;
WHEREAS, as in many areas of the law, the existing regulations of the advocate’s profession in Ethiopia are insufficient to address contemporary challenges that the new economic and social realities bring to bear;
WHEREAS, to align the reality in the legal practices market and the legal framework guiding it, a legislative guidance has become necessary;
WHEREAS, informed by the experiences of many different jurisdictions from different legal traditions, the need to lay a legal foundation that responds to many questions in the field is recognised;
WHEREAS public interest calls for a stable advocates’ profession with strong and independent regulatory institutions as part of the administration of justice to advance the rule of law and the uniform protection of human rights, including access to justice, throughout Ethiopia;
WHEREAS it is crucial for a society governed by the rule of law that the advocates’ profession has a self-regulatory power under a statutory framework;
NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with Article 55 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is hereby proclaimed as follows.
Sub-section One – General
This Proclamation may be cited as the “Advocates’ Proclamation No…./2019”.
In this Proclamation, unless the context requires otherwise:
- “Constitution” means the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;
- “Advocate” means an individual to whom a license is issued in accordance with this Proclamation in order to engage in legal practice;
- “Legal practice” means “any service that could be provided by an advocate including:
- advising a client on legal issues;
- drafting a legal document and/or executing a document on behalf of a client;
- representing a client before any governmental or non-governmental body, including courts, administrative tribunals, quasi-judicial bodies, arbitration tribunals and other alternative dispute resolution forum; and
- subject to a special license requirement, notarizing a document”;
- “Federal Attorney General” means the government body established in accordance with the Federal Attorney General Establishment Proclamation No. 943/2016;
- “Documents Authentication and Registration Agency” means the government body established in accordance with the Documents Authentication and Registration Proclamation No. 922/2016;
- “Federal Bar” means the body established pursuant to Article 70 of this Proclamation.
- “Region” means any regional state referred to in Article 47 (1) of the Constitution, excluding the Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa City Administrations.
- Any expression in the masculine gender used in this Proclamation includes the feminine.
Scope of Application
This Proclamation shall govern advocates and law firms that engage in legal practice in the City Administrations of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa or federal courts.
OBJECTIVES AND PRINCIPLES OF REGULATION
Regulatory Objectives and Principles
- In the regulation of advocates, the regulator shall, in so far as it is practicable, strive to serve the following regulatory objectives:
- Protection and promotion of the rule of law;
- Protection and promotion of human rights, including access to justice;
- Protection and promotion of the interests of consumers;
- Ensuring fair competition in legal practice;
- Encouraging the development of an independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession;
- Promoting and maintaining adherence to professional principles and rules; and
- Contributing to building one economic and political community.
- The regulatory objectives provided under Sub-article 1 of this Article shall be the objectives for the enactment of codes of conduct and bylaws, licensing of advocates and disciplinary proceedings.
- The regulator, in discharging its functions with a view to achieving the regulatory objective above, shall be guided by the following principles:
- Cost effectiveness;
- Proportionality of means to ends;
- Balanced and effective participation of stakeholders;
- Facilitative compliance first and enforcement as a last resort;
- Transparency; and
- Consistency and equality.
ADMISSION AND LICENSING
Sub-section One – Admission
- No person shall engage in legal practice without being licensed by the Federal Bar.
- Any person who meets the qualification criteria as provided in this Section is entitled to be admitted to the advocates’ profession.
- The entry into and continued exercise of the advocates’ profession should not be denied in particular by reason of sex, religion, political or other opinion, ethnic or social origin, property, birth or physical disability.
Any person is qualified to work as an advocate if he:
- is a citizen of Ethiopia;
- holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from an accredited law school in Ethiopia;
- has successfully completed a two-year period of traineeship as provided in this Section;
- produces evidence that certifies he has passed the examinations for admission as may be prescribed by the Federal Bar;
- has good moral character; and
- is not legally or judicial interdicted from engaging in legal practice.