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New Ethiopian Bill to Allow the Establishment of Legal Firms

The Ethiopian Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has drafted a new bill that authorizes the establishment of legal firms for the first time. The draft bill allows the establishment of law firms offering advocacy services as ‘Ordinary Partnerships’.

The new bill will prohibit members of a law firm from membership in multiple legal firms and from providing private advocacy services.

It is expected that the establishment of legal firms will be beneficial to the legal sector by creating specialization, accountability and sustainability according to professionals in the field. Advocacy contracts signed with firms instead of individuals will also increase the confidence of client said sources.

In related news the MoJ bill bans non Ethiopians from practicing law.

The new bill, ‘Advocacy Licence & Administration Proclamation’ clearly establishes that an advocate needs to be an Ethiopian national.  This puts an end to the argument raised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs citing the Foreign Nationals of Ethiopian Origin proclamation which allows Ethiopian born foreign nationals to exercise certain rights in Ethiopia.

Other provisions of the draft bill include the prohibition of licensing for government employees and those who are employed with public organizations on a full time basis. An exception will be made for those teaching in institutes of higher education.

The bill states that lawyers who have served in public capacities including, police work, judges and public prosecutors can only apply for a license two years after leaving their positions. The minimum experience for a first time license applicant will be raised to five years from two as per the new bill.

Source: Addis Fortune