Period of Limitation in Civil Cases According to Ethiopian Law


     By Fikadu Asfaw and Associates Law Office

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A brief note on the period of limitation in Civil cases according to Ethiopian law.

Do you want to know about the common period of limitations found in the Ethiopian legal system? Below you will find them.

For those who donít know period of limitation, here is the definition of Period of limitation. It means when a person who can be a plaintiff or a defendant has a time limit for raising or presenting a question. Below you will find list of period of Limitations listed under the Ethiopian civil code.

1. In contract law
According to Article 1845 of the civil code any person who wants the performance of a contract or has incurred loss due to the non-performance of a contract shall exercise his right to ask within ten years.

2. Non-contractual obligations
According to Article 2143 of the civil code cases of non-contractual obligations have two years period of limitation. However, if the case leads to a criminal liability and if the crime has a period of limitation more than two years, the time fixed for asking compensation shall be substituted by the period of limitation of the crime.

3. Succession
There are various period of limitations in case of succession. One of them is for annulment of a will. if there are parties who want the annulment of a will, they can do so by expressing their wish within two weeks time after the reading or from the time they came to know that the will has been read, to the liquidator within the coming months and in any case it should not be more than 5 (five) years (Article 973 & 944).

The other one is in relation to cases of unlawful possession of property. So in case of unlawful possession of property in succession, the plaintiff who sues the defendant for restitution of the property must do so within 3 (three) years from the time one recognized the fact that the property is in the defendantís hand. Other than this whether the plaintiff knew or didnít know of the fact that the property was in the hands of the defendant does not give him right to claim the property, if 15 years has passed from the time the deceased died or from the time the plaintiff) came to acquire his right (Article 1000).

4. Property law
If a personís possession is taken or there is disturbance on his possession, the person can institute a case or complaint for the return of the property within 2 years only. Art 1149(2).

5. Labor law
A. Labor law proc-377/2003 Art 162 states that if an employee says the employment agreement is terminated unlawfully, he can ask for re-employment within 3 months from the termination of the contract.
B. Fees, bonus and other payments must be asked within six months from the termination of the contract.
C. If any kind of payment question arises regarding the termination of employment contract by either the employee or employer it must be instituted with in six months of the termination.
D. Issues related with employment contract other than the above must be instituted within one year from the termination of the contract

6. Civil procedure
In civil procedure code there are rules incorporated regarding period of limitation. After a judgment is given, in civil cases, an appeal must be instituted within 60 days (Art 323(2) But if is an employment dispute then the appeal must be made within 30 days.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Fikadu Asfaw Law Office
Fikadu Law Office is an Ethiopia law office providing advisory and litigation services to corporate and private clients in Ethiopia and throughout the world.

Fikadu Law Office is licensed to practice throughout Ethiopia at all level of courts including Federal First Instance Court, Federal High Court, Federal Supreme Court, Cassation Court and any other similar legal tribunals.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.



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