Execution of Foreign Judgments under Ethiopia Law

Have you wondered how the Ethiopian law addresses the issue of execution of foreign judgments? Below you will find brief note on how foreign Judgments are executed or enforced in Ethiopia.

The issue of execution of foreign Judgments is governed by the Ethiopia Civil Procedure Code and The Federal Courts Proclamation Number 25/1996.

The power of execution of foreign judgments is given to the Federal High Court. According to the federal courts proclamation No 25/1996. Article 11(2) (c), the federal high court shall have first instance jurisdiction over application regarding the enforcement of foreign judgments or decisions.

Article 456 of the Ethiopian Civil Procedure Code states that unless otherwise expressly provided for by international conventions, foreign judgments may not be executed in Ethiopia except in accordance with the following grounds. Accordingly no foreign judgment shall be executed in Ethiopia unless an application to this effect is made. The application shall be in writing and have the following

  1.  A certified copy of the judgment to be executed and
  2. A certificate signed by the president or the registrar of the court having given judgment to the effect that such judgment is final & enforceable.

As per the principle of the Ethiopian civil procedure code, the court to which the application is made shall give permission to execute a foreign judgment after checking the following requirements.


           i.            The Execution of Ethiopian judgments is allowed in the country in which the judgment to be executed was given;

         ii.            The judgment was given by a court duly established and constituted;

      iii.            The judgment debtor was given the opportunity to appear and present his defense;

       iv.            The judgment to be executed is final and enforceable and

         v.            The execution is not contrary to public order or morals

If the above requirements fulfilled the court will allow the application; but if not it is impossible to execute the judgment. After this the next step is the procedure of execution and the decision of the court.

The court to which the application is made shall enable the party against whom the judgment is to be executed to present his observations within such time as it shall fix. And also decide whether pleadings may be submitted. If there are doubts the court may suspend its decision until all doubtful points have been clarified.

Finally the decision shall be made on the basis of the application unless the court for some special reason to be recorded decides to hear the parties at a hearing which it shall fix. The court shall at the same time decide on costs. Once the application is allowed and permission to execute is granted, the foreign judgments shall be executed in Ethiopia as though it had been given by an Ethiopian court.

Enforcement of Foreign Awards  

The principle for enforcement of foreign awards is similar to the ones mentioned for execution of foreign judgments. Accordingly to Article 461 of the Ethiopian Civil Procedure Code the following are conditions to be fulfilled to enforce an arbitral award.

             i.            Reciprocity is ensured. i.e the execution of foreign awards is allowed in the country in which the award to be executed was given;

           ii.            The award has been made following a regular arbitration agreement or other legal act in the country where it was made;

        iii.            The parties have had equal rights in appointing the arbitrators and they have been summoned to attend the proceedings;

         iv.            The Arbitration Tribunal was regularly constituted;

           v.            The award does not relate to matters which under the provisions of Ethiopian laws could not be submitted to arbitration or is not contrary to public order or morals and

         vi.            The award is of such nature as to be enforceable on the condition laid down in Ethiopian laws

If these requirements fulfilled the awards shall enforced but in the absence of such conditions it is difficult to enforce.

The provisions which are stated for the execution of foreign judgments shall apply by analogy when the enforcement of a foreign award is sought.  

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