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Download - Abyssinia Law

Download - Abyssinia Law

Download - Abyssinia

www.abyssinialaw.com THE DEVELOPMENT OF LEGAL SYSTEMS: THE ETHIOPIAN EXPERIENCE Robert Allen Sedler* A complete, modern legal system must be created in each of the "developing nations" of the world to meet the needs of rapid social and economic growth. The problems experienced in imposing a new legal system upon a "developing" society are frequently similar among the various nations. Professor Sedier discusses these problems of general legal development with respect to several new nations. His detailed analysis of the progress of the Ethiopian legal system brings into focus the common denominators of legal and societal evolution. He is particularly qualified to discuss the Ethiopian experience because of his former position as Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Law at Haile Sellassie I University from 1963-1966. I. INTRODUCTION The purpose of this article is to analyze the development of a modem legal system in what we have come to call a "developing nation." A number of nations fall into this category, and the problems they face with respect to the development of their legal systems are often similar. However, it is necessary to focus on a particular nation in order to obtain a comprehensive picture of the development process. While the problems of legal development will be discussed with reference to a number of nations, particularly African ones, the focus will be primarily on the development of the legal system of Ethiopia. Today we are very conscious of the developing nation. Many nations of the world are trying to transform and modernize their societies and economies by a process of planned development. Ordinarily we think of such development in the material sense; a nation is trying to raise the living standards of its people, educate its children, and eliminate poverty, illiteracy, and disease. The process is a continuing one, involving the employment of all resources at hand. As part of this development, the legal system must also be radically altered to reflect the changes that are taking place in the society. Simply stated, a * Associate Professor of Law, University of Kentucky. A33., LLB., University of Pittsburgh. The author was formerly Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Law at Haile Sellassie I University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 1963-1966. The author wishes to express his appreciation to his colleagues at the Faculty of Law who provided very valuable assistance in the preparation of this manuscript 562

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