31 January 2012 Written by  Aberham Yohannes and Desta G/michael

The Present State and Future Prospects of Administrative Law in Ethiopia

Around 1880, the renowned English constitutional lawyer professor A.V.Dicey, misled by his misconception of the rule of law, proudly stated that England did not have administrative law. Almost after a century, in what can be said a total reversal of the  Dicey’s position, the renowned English judge Lord Denning commented that ‘…it may truly now be said that we have a developed system of administrative law.’

Given the current situation in Ethiopia as to the scope and impact of the administrative law, it may be unfair to say that Ethiopia does not have administrative law. But, it is equally true that no one can boldly declare that ‘ we have a developed system of the administrative law.’ Still there is no administrative procedure governing administrative decision-making or delegated legislation, either at the federal or state level. There are only few administrative courts poorly organized, highly subject to executive control and ineffective due to lack of expert administrative judges and absence of clear guidelines regarding their qualification, procedure of appointment and dismissal. Control of administrative action through judicial review is almost non-existent. Institutional control through the Ombudsman and the Human Rights Commission is not as developed and effective as it should have been. Generally, the legal instrument to bring about administrative justice, executive accountability and good governance is far from being developed in a comprehensive and systematic manner. Presently, the need for such a developed system of administrative law is beyond necessity. The question of the administrative justice is still an unanswered question for the citizens of Ethiopia.

The implication of the federal structure is that there is a possibility of the  Federal and the state administrative law. Since the constitution envisages for the establishment of the executive branch at the state level as one organ of government, it is be up to the states to formulate their own administrative law. This means that the decision making and rule-making procedure of one regional state may be different from that of the other state, or even from that of   the federal state.

Last modified on Wednesday, 02 May 2012 13:05