Article 78-84 Ethiopian Constitution 1994
Article 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83 and 84 of the Constitution of Ethiopia 1994 are under Chapter nine of the Act. Chapter Nine is titled Structure and Powers of the Court.
Article 78 Ethiopian Constitution 1994
Independence of the Judiciary
1. An independent judiciary is established by this Constitution.
2. Supreme Federal judicial authority is vested in the Federal Supreme Court. The House of Peoples’ Representatives may, by :two-thirds majority vote, establish nationwide, or in some parts of the country only, the Federal High Court and First-Instance Courts it deems necessary. Unless decided in this manner, the jurisdictions of the Federal High Court and of the First-Instance Courts are hereby delegated to the State courts.
3. States shall establish State Supreme, High and First Instance Courts. Particulars shall be determined by law.
4. Special or ad-hoc courts which take judicial powers away from the regular courts or institutions legally empowered to exercise judicial functions and which do not follow legally prescribed procedures shall not be established.
5. Pursuant to sub-Article 5 of Article 34 the House of Peoples’ Representatives and State Councils can establish or give official recognition to religious and customary courts. Religious and customary courts that had state recognition and functioned prior to the adoption of the Constitution shall be organized on the basis of recognition accorded to them by this Constitution.
Article 79 Ethiopian Constitution 1994
1. Judicial powers, both at Federal and State levels, are vested in the courts.
2. Courts of any lever shall be free from any interference of influence of any governmental body, government official or from any other source.
3. Judges shall exercise their functions in full independence and shall be directed solely by the law.
4. No judge shall be removed from his duties before he reaches the retirement age determined by law, except under the following conditions:
(a) When the Judicial Administration Council decides to remove him for violation of disciplinary rules or on grounds of gross incompetence or inefficiency; or
(b) When the Judicial Administration Council decides that a judge can no longer carry out his responsibilities on account of illness; and
(c) When the House of Peoples’ Representatives or the concerned State Council approves by a majority vote the decisions of the Judicial Administration Council.
5. The retirement of judges may not be extended beyond the retirement age determined by law.
6. The Federal Supreme Court shall draw up and submit to the House of Peoples ‘ Representatives for approval the budget of the Federal courts, and upon approval, administer the budget.
7. Budgets of State courts shall be determined by the respective State Council. the House of Peoples’ representatives shall allocate compensatory budgets for States whose Supreme and High courts concurrently exercise the jurisdictions of the Federal High Court and Federal First-Instance Courts.
Article 80 Ethiopian Constitution 1994
Concurrent Jurisdiction of Courts
1. The Federal Supreme Court shall have the highest and final judicial power over Federal matters.
2. State Supreme Courts shall have the highest and final judicial power over State matters. They shall also exercise the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court.
3. Notwithstanding the Provisions of sub-Articles 1 and 2 of this Article;
(a) The Federal Supreme Court has a power of cassation over any final court decision containing a basic error of law. Particulars shall be determined by law.
(b) The State Supreme Court has power of cassation over an final court decision on State matters which contains a basic error of law. Particulars shall be determined by law
4. State High Court shall, in addition to State jurisdiction, exercise the jurisdiction of the Federal First-Instance Court.
5. Decisions rendered by a State High Court exercising the jurisdiction of the Federal First-Instance Court are appealable to the State Supreme Court.
6. Decisions rendered by a State Supreme Court on Federal matters are appealable to the Federal Supreme Court.
Article 81 Ethiopian Constitution 1994
Appointment of Judges
1. The President and Vice-President of the Federal Supreme Court shall, upon recommendation by the Prime Minister, be appointed by the House of People’s Representatives.
2. Regarding other Federal judges, the Prime Minster shall submit to the House of Peoples’ Representatives for appointment candidates selected by the Federal Judicial Administration Council.
3. The State council shall, upon recommendation by the Chief Executive of the State, appoint the President and Vice-President of the State Supreme Court.
4. State Supreme and High Court judges shall, upon recommendation by the State Judicial Administration, be appointed by the State Council. The State Judicial Administration Council, before submitting nominations to the State Council, before submitting nominations to the State Council, has the responsibility to solicit and obtain the views of the Federal Judicial Administration Council on the nominees and to forward those views along with the recommendations. If the Federal Judicial Administration Council does not submit its views within three months, the State Council may grant the appointments.
5. Judges of State First-Instance Courts shall, upon recommendation by the State Judicial Administration Council, be appointed by the State Council.
6. Matters of code of professional conduct and discipline as well as transfer of judges of any court shall be determined by the concerned Judicial Administration Council.
Article 82 Ethiopian Constitution 1994
Structure of the Council of Constitutional Inquiry
1. The Council of Constitutional Inquiry is established by this Constitution.
2. The Council of Constitutional Inquiry shall have eleven members comprising:
(a) The President of the Federal Supreme Court, who shall serve as its President;
(b) The Vice-President of the Federal Supreme Court, who shall serve as its Vice-President;
(c) Six legal experts, appointed by the President of the Republic on recommendation by the House of Peoples’ Representatives, who shall have proven professional competence and high moral standing;
(d) Three persons designated by the House of the Federation from among its members.
3. The Council of Constitutional Inquiry shall establish organizational structure which can ensure expeditious execution of its responsibilities.
Article 83 Ethiopian Constitution 1994
Interpretation of the Constitution
1. All constitutional disputes shall be decided by the House of the Federation.
2. The House of the Federation shall, within thirty days of receipt, decide a constitutional dispute submitted to it by the Council of Constitutional Inquiry.
Article 84 Ethiopian Constitution 1994
1. The Council of Constitutional Inquiry shall have powers to investigate constitutional disputes. Should the Council, upon consideration of the master, find it necessary to interpret the Constitution, it shall submit its recommendations thereon to the House of the Federation.
2. Where any Federal or State law is contested as being unconstitutional and such a dispute is submitted to it by any court or interested party, the Council shall consider the matter and submit it to the House of the Federation for a final decision.
3. When issues of constitutional interpretation arise in the courts, the Council shall:
(a) Remand the case to the concerned court if it finds there is no need for constitutional interpretation; the interested party, if dissatisfied with the decision of the Council, may appeal to the House of the Federation.
(b) Submit its recommendations to the House of the Federation for a final decision if it believes there is a need for constitutional interpretation.
4. The Council shall draft its rules of procedure and submit them to the House of the Federation; and implement them upon approval.
See also: Article 72-77 Ethiopian Constitution 1994 [Chapter 8 – The Executive]