In the contemporary world, people are in a constant and continuous mobility from one
state to another state both at the international level, and within a single nation. This
situation allows persons of the same or different residents (domiciliaries) or nationals,
as the case may be, to engage in various social and commercial intercourses in places
other than the state where they have close link. No doubt, in the course of these
relationships, disputes are invariably bound to arise.
Accordingly, the problem of conflict of laws exists both in the international level
between the laws of two or more sovereign nations and within a single nation between
laws within the confine of a Federal system. Problems concerning conflict of laws, both
at the international and national level are usually addressed by conflict of law rules.
At the international level, it is obvious that every country in the world has its own
system of municipal law, which may materially differ from those of others. Relations of
an international character between peoples of different nations also exist as a result of
commerce, friendship, war etc. Unavoidably, a controversy arises rendering the
application of different laws and such situation gives rise to international conflict of
laws, a subject matter that is not the domain of this paper.
Besides, to the question of choice of law and recognition of foreign judgment or award
courts will also be faced with the question of jurisdiction. In other words, before a court
determines or chooses the appropriate body of law, it has to ascertain whether it has
jurisdiction to entertain a case having some extra-state elements.
In a Federal setup, a country consists of a number of states each with its own law,
which may be different from the laws of sister-states. In this level, there is always interstate transaction. People may have dealing in states other than their own and inevitably
disputes arise between them. This situation commonly creates recurring problems as to
how to choose between conflicting laws, which will be applied to decide that particular controversy. So, in order to solve such problems of conflict of laws, each state may
formulate its own conflict of laws rules.
Generally, conflict of laws rules guide courts to ascertain whether they have jurisdiction
to adjudicate a case that has an extra-state element. These rules also assist courts to
determine which body of laws to apply in order to resolve the controversy on a rational
and a reasonable basis.
Currently, Ethiopia is a Federal state, and today there are nine Regional states forming
The Federal and State governments coexist, with the power to enact
laws on those matters failing under their respective jurisdictions. There is therefore, a
possibility for the existence of diversity of laws in the country. Consequently, a
problem of inter-state conflict of laws may possibly exist in the nation when each
member state of the Federation enacts its own laws, which may be different from the
laws of the inter-state entities. In this situation the court before which a case containing
extra-state element is brought will be confronted with a problem as to how to choose
between conflicting state laws.
Within the Federal arrangement, the problem of conflict of laws doesn’t only exist
between different state laws. Under the FDRE Constitution, both the Federal and State
Governments are given power to enact laws on the same matter. In this situation, there
is a great possibility for the occurrence of conflict of laws between Federal and State
Laws enacted under the concurrent jurisdiction. For example, four of the nine regional
states have their own Family laws, and the Federal one as well. But, there is no answer
for the question that how can we solve problem of conflict of laws if happened between
or among the laws of the Regional states within one another or with the Federal one.
The paper attempts to discuss how problems of inter–state conflict of laws under the
current five family laws in FDRE should be dealt with and recommend some solutions
by which such problems can be resolved. An essential focus of the research is based on
the problems on recognition of marriages that are celebrated out side of the regional
state and related issues. The research paper consists of three chapters and conclusion
INTER-STATE CONFLICT OF LAWS: THE CASE OF MARRIAGE ISSUES AMONG THE FEDERAL AND THE REGIONAL STATES’ FAMILY LAWS UNDER FDRE