Three EIC Delegated Authorities

By Dagnachew Tesfaye, Partner at Dagnachew & Mahlet Law Firm Limited Liability Partnership(LLP)

The Investment Proclamation No 1180/2020 on Article 4 delegates part of the power of the Ethiopian Investment Commission(EIC) to issue investment permits to three different authorities. These delegated authorities are assigned to administer foreign investment in those areas representing EIC. The objective to delegate part of the power emanates from the fact that these sectors require specific technical knowledge to filter investors and regulate the investment. The three EIC delegated authorities are the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, the Ethiopian Energy Authority and the Ethiopian Communication Authority. A look at each of the delegated powers to these authorities shall be the focus of this brief article.

The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority

The Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority (ECAA) is re-established by Civil Aviation Proclamation No 616/2008 as an autonomous government organ having its own legal personality. One of the powers of the ECAA is to license and regulate the operations of air services and general aviation services. The issuance, renewal, amendment, substitution, replacement and cancellation of investment permits, and the issuance of investment expansion or upgrading permits for air transport services requested by foreign investors shall be done by the ECAA.

The Ethiopian Energy Authority

The issuance, renewal, amendment, substitution, replacement and cancellation of investment permits, and the issuance of investment expansion or upgrading permits for the generation and transmission or distribution of electric power  requested by foreign investors shall be carried out by the Ethiopian Energy Authority (EEA) representing EIC. The Energy Proclamation No 810/2013 envisions the establishment of the Ethiopian Energy Authority by regulation to be issued by the Council of Ministers. Energy related licensing procedures are listed in detail under Council of Ministers Energy Regulation No 447/2019. In addition to the powers entrusted to EEA from its own regulation, EEA received delegated powers from EIC to administer and issue investment permits for foreign investors interested in engaging in the electric power generation sector.

The Ethiopian Communication Authority

The Ethiopian Communication Authority is established under Article 3 of the Communication Service Proclamation No 1148/2019. The ECA is empowered under its establishment proclamation to issue licences and supervise operators of communication services and amend, renew, suspend or revoke licences. Similarly ECA received a delegated power from EIC to issue, renew, substitute, replace and cancel investment permits, and the issuance of investment expansion or upgrading permits for provision of communication services for foreign investors.

Reporting and Coordination

The ECAA, the EEA, and the ECA shall submit to the EIC a quarterly report regarding services rendered through their Delegated Powers. The three authorities shall also  coordinate with EIC to undertake studies identifying sectoral potentials, and sector specific investment development strategies, and engage in investment promotion works.

To conclude the EIC has delegated part of its power to administer foreign investment in Ethiopia to other three organs of the government. The three organs of the government that represent EIC in issuing investment permits and regulation of the same are the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority on air transport services, the Ethiopian Energy Authority on generation and transmission or distribution of electric power and the Ethiopian Communication Authority on communication services. These organs of the government shall report to EIC quarterly regarding services rendered.

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Few Basic Federal Court Etiquette and Procedures For the General Public

By Dagnachew & Mahlet Law Firm Limited Liability Partnership(LLP) Team

The Federal Supreme Court has issued a directive namely Federal Courts Courtroom Etiquettes Directive No 13/2022. The Directive aims to put court rooms as formal places that require a certain high standard of behavior from those that visit the court and the courtroom. The Directive will be enforced after three months from May 16,2022. Here are few of the etiquettes enlisted in the Directive.

Pre-courtroom Procedure:

  • When  arriving at the courthouse, check the daily hearing list for the courtroom. The checklist shall contain the file number, name of the parties, the type of case, reason for the adjournment and time. Such a checklist shall be posted on notice board or can be seen on television screen. The Directive lacks to indicate what to do  if the matter in which you are interested is not on the list. Normally clients will ask a member of the court staff to direct them to the counter where someone can look up where and when the matter is being heard.
  • Be on time. Because people entering and exiting the courtroom can be very distracting, you may be required to wait outside of the courtroom until an appropriate break in the proceedings opens up so that you may go inside the courtroom.
  • When the courtroom is open, please find a seat in the gallery. Standing is generally not permitted in courtrooms.
  • When the judge enters the courtroom, everyone in the room must rise to show respect. Please rise and remain standing until the bailiff or court room assistant  invites you to be seated.
  • Before arriving at the courthouse, make sure you do not have any pocket or utility knives or anything else that may be considered a weapon. These items may be confiscated, and you may be denied entry into the courthouse.

Inside the courtroom:

  • Courts shall start in the morning at 9:30AM and in the afternoon at 2:00 PM. However, the Directive lacks to mention the existence of  lunch break, as well as a morning and an afternoon break. Probably the timing of these breaks are left for the discretion of the judge.
  • The judge entertains cases as per the case flow management directive. The checklist is not the governing sequence of how cases are heard one after the other. The Directive needs to include to show consistency as to time of adjournment and case flow management of the judge, so that customers know as per the sequence on the checklist, their case shall be called.
  • Turn off your cell phone or pager before entering the courtroom. Members of the public are not permitted to use electronic devices  (e.g. cell phones, cameras, recording devices etc.) in courtrooms unless the presiding judge orders otherwise. The use of electronic devices in the courtroom to Counsel, parties, and members of the media subject to certain conditions and restrictions shall be subject to the order of the judge..
  • Speak in a voice audible for the judge, the courtroom or the opposing party or council.
  • Proper dressing attire has to be followed. The dressing code has to be formal rather than casual. It is forbidden to wear a closing that depicts criminal conduct or contain offensive writings or posts that can negatively influence the court proceedings. 
  • Remain silent throughout the proceedings. If you need to speak to someone, please step outside the courtroom.
  • No food or beverages are allowed in the courtrooms except water..
  • Hats or headwear are not permitted except for religious reasons. Please also remove your sunglasses before entering the courtroom (unless they are required due to a medical condition).
  • You must stand whenever you speak to the judge or the judge speaks to you.
  • When you are addressing a judge, you should call him or her “Your Honor Judge” or ‘’Honorable Court’’.
  •  Do not sit in a manner that forbids movement for others by stretching your legs, sitting on a table or places used to block movement to the stage of the judge.
  • It is prohibited to be intoxicated or be under the influence of drugs and enter the courtroom.
  • Those who have cough or flu need to wait outside till their name is called or ask permission to be given priority.
  • Do not interrupt the judge while he/she is speaking.
  • Do not interrupt to go out while the judge is reading charge, sentencing, judgment, decree or hearing of witnesses.

In General the judge or court staff are responsible for maintaining security and decorum in the courtroom. One has to comply with any direction that the judge courtroom staff  give you. If you fail to comply with any such direction, you may be asked to leave the courtroom.

Family Leave: the Ethiopian Labour Law Perspective

By Mahlet Mesganaw, Founder and Partner at Dagnachew & Mahlet Law Firm Limited Liability Partnership(LLP)

Family leave refers to leave allowed for family events such as birth of a child, conclusion of marriage, funeral and exceptional and serious events. A look at the Ethiopian Labour Law on family leave shall be the focus of this brief article.

Maternity Leave

Maternity leave refers to leave available to the mother for the birth of a child to be taken just before, during and immediately after child birth. The Ethiopian Labour Law grants a total of 120 consecutive days of maternity leave. The 120 consecutive days are divided into pre-natal leave of 30 consecutive days and post-natal leave of the remaining 90 days. Where a pregnant worker does not give birth within the 30  days of her pre-natal leave, the pregnant worker is entitled to an additional leave until her giving birth. However, if birth takes place before the expiry of the pre-natal leave, the 90  days of postnatal leave shall commence. Here the Ethiopian Labour Law on Article 88 Sub-article 3 and 4 interprets parental leave and postnatal leaves in sub-article 3 in consecutive days and on sub-article 4 in working days. The writer is of the opinion that the principle of maternity leave rests on Sub-article 3 of Article 88 which refers to prenatal and postnatal in consecutive days. Thus, sub-article 4 should be read in the same manner as consecutive days and not working days. 

The Ethiopian Labour law does not restrict the leave for pregnant mothers only for prenatal and postnatal birth. In addition to prenatal and postnatal leaves, the pregnant employee is granted leave for medical examination connected with her pregnancy with the condition that she present a medical certificate. Moreover a pregnant worker shall, upon the recommendation of a physician, be entitled to a leave with pay.

Paternity Leave

Paternity leave refers to the leave granted only to the father for the birth of a child. A father employee shall be entitled to three consecutive days paternity leave. The Labour Law does not contain conditions to extend these three consecutive days if the birth of the child doesn’t happen on the assigned days. Also the paternity leaves are consecutive days and not working days.

Leave for Marriage

Leave for marriage refers to the conclusion of marriage as legally recognized by law. The husband or wife employee is granted three working days of leave. Leave for honeymoon or customary invitations of the brides by different family members after the conclusion of marriage are excluded.

Leave for Funeral

Leave for funerals refers to leaves when close family members die. The Ethiopian Labour Law restricts family ties to  spouse, descendants, ascendants, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, relative whether by consanguinity or affinity. The employee facing such deaths of family members  is entitled to 3 working days of leave.  Such leave does not extend to close neighbors, friends, or as the customary association ‘Edir’ requires attendance for burial or serving lunch or dinner.

Serious and Exceptional Leave

A worker shall be entitled to leave  for up to five consecutive days in the case of exceptional and serious events. What is an exceptional and serious event? The Ethiopian Labour Law does not give a definition of it. What is included in serious and exceptional events may be determined by and between the employer and employee, work rules or conditions of work and on disagreement by the Ethiopian Labour Courts. However, such leave may be granted only twice in a budget year.

What percentage of earnings is received during the types of leave?

Except the serious and exceptional leave that will be taken without pay, the rest of the leaves are taken with full payment of wages.

To sum up the Ethiopian Labour Law contains family leaves that include maternity, paternity, leave for funeral, marriage and exceptional and serious events. The leaves for marriage and funeral are granted in terms of working days while the leaves for maternity, paternity and serious and exceptional  leaves are taken in consecutive days. The full salary is paid for the leaves for maternity, paternity, leave for marriage and funeral whereas serious and exceptional leave is granted without pay.

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Ten Non-Arbitrable Subject Matters: the Case of Ethiopia

By Dagnachew Tesfaye, Founder and Partner at Dagnachew & Mahlet Law Firm Limited Liability Partnership(LLP)

A case is non-arbitrable means the subject matter of the dispute falls outside the scope of being resolved by arbitration. Thus non-arbitrability precludes a tribunal from exercising jurisdiction over certain cases. Had an arbitration panel exercised jurisdiction on non-arbitrable subject matters, the resulting award may be set aside or denied recognition and enforcement.

The governing legislation in Arbitration as of April 2021 is the Arbitration and Conciliation Working Procedure Proclamation No 1237/2021(the Proclamation).

Hence  non-arbitrable subject matters are identified and listed in non-exhaustive way in Article 7 of the Proclamation. The ten non-arbitrable cases are the following: 1/ Divorce, adoption, guardianship, tutorship and succession cases; 2/ Criminal cases; 3/ Tax cases; 4/ Judgment on bankruptcy;  5/ Decisions on dissolution of business organizations; 6/ All land cases including lease; 7/ Administrative contract, except where it is permitted by law; 8/ Trade competition and consumers protection; 9/ Administrative disputes falling under the powers given to relevant administrative organs by law; 10/ other cases that are termed not arbitrable under the law. 

The arbitrability and non-arbitrability of cases used to be governed by provisions of the Civil Code, Civil Procedure Code and other laws of Ethiopia. However Article 78 of  the Proclamation repealed Article 3325-3346 of the Civil Code that deals with Arbitral Submission. In addition to that, Civil Procedure Code Articles 315 to 319(Arbitration), 350,352,355-357 (Appeal on arbitral awards)and 461 (Enforcement of foreign arbitral award ) are repealed. Nonetheless Articles 351,353,and 354 of the Civil Procedure Code are left un-repealed. Any other laws that are inconsistent with respect to matters provided in the Proclamation are also repealed.

To sum up, the controversies in determining what cases are arbitrable and what cases are non-arbitrable are settled for the most part by Arbitration and Conciliation Working Procedure  Proclamation No 1237/2021.

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