Our Activities

Review of Previous Reform Initiatives

Legal reform efforts have been taking place in Ethiopia for over half a century through the introduction of multiple constitutional frameworks.

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Initiating Legal Reform

The Council is mandated to initiate its own legal reform regiment in consultation with the Attorney General.


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Public Participation and Deliberation

It is the belief of the Advisory Council that the deployment of experts in drafting laws is but a small step towards attaining the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

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Mobilize Subject Area Professionals

The Council throughout its structure from top to bottom is composed of legal professionals with ample amount of experience and known for their great reputation in their respective fields.

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Implementation-Support and Evaluation

The Council is invested in measuring the normative reform efforts in terms of their sustainable implementation or providing a system though which this is done.


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Review of Previous Reform Initiatives

Legal reform efforts have been taking place in Ethiopia for over half a century through the introduction of multiple constitutional frameworks. It is important to note that in the past two decades the country has undergone the most intense legal reforms taking in to account international human rights standards. However, these reforms were not without their limitations as there was a failure in pushing very important legal regimes to the finish line. This in turn, has created an inevitable vacuum in certain sectors and left them with inadequate regulatory frameworks.

The Council is committed to identifying these incomplete initiatives, conduct necessary reviews and studies with the aim of attaining valuable results. These four legal fields have been identified as incomplete as of the year 2020; Prison administration, Criminal procedure and evidence law, Administration procedure law and Commercial law.

Studies conducted and legislative drafts developed in the process of these reform initiatives have all undergone rigorous expert scrutiny and were framed in accordance with the constitution and international laws. Once these tests are completed, they are fast tacked through the legislative process.

Initiating Legal Reform

The Council is mandated to initiate its own legal reform regiment in consultation with the Attorney General. These are laws that are widely perceived to be incompatible with the Constitution or as having had a detrimental effect on human rights and democracy; while also giving the appropriate due regard to reforms that are required not only to protect but also to promote human rights.

Legal reforms that came into existence through the initiation efforts of the Council regard the following; anti terrorism law; civil societies, mass media law; access to information; computer crimes; reestablishment of the National Electoral Board; legal practice; the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, freedom of assembly, assembly, demonstration and petition.

These reform measures taken by the Council are set to ensure that the norms and institutions established in these legislations are compatible with the Constitution and relevant international human rights standards. The goal is that, ultimately these legislations would pave the way for the emergence of a vibrant and strong civil society and media.

Public Participation and Deliberation

It is the belief of the Advisory Council that the deployment of experts in drafting laws is but a small step towards attaining the rule of law, democracy and human rights. In order to be truly democratic, laws ought to be enriched by public input, not just through the parliamentary representatives, but also by engaging the public directly. In addition to a wide range of ongoing efforts to ensure public participation, deliberation and engagement, the Council has been relatively successful in garnering the input of stakeholders that are directly affected by specific legislation either by inputting them in the law-making process itself or by engaging with them in public consultations instead of just publishing the law and notifying the public post facto.

While striving to engage panels of subject area experts in the law-making process, the Council does not take it for granted that they know what the public wants or needs. The Council, therefore, does its level best to engage the public, opposition parties, civil society organizations, and stakeholders, thus opening up the opportunity to participate in the law-making process through different meetings. These meetings are not only intended to involve the public in the process but also give a chance to all parties involved in the law making process, to gather additional input and to actually match the objective of a particular law to the needs of the public.

Beyond these engagements, the Council is also committed to using other mediums of communication such as traditional and new media to both collect input on its work and to publicize its work from the point of view of public legal education. This website itself is an extension of this effort, intended to allow the Council to supplement its public consultations and its presence in the media. The prime purpose of the Council’s social media accounts is also connected with extending the Council’s ability to collect public input on its work in general and on diagnostic studies and draft laws in particular. It is our hope that these platforms would spark and ignite public debate, could be used as a means of collecting feedback from the public and for conducting public legal education regarding upcoming legislations.

One of the essential goals of the Council, and the legal reform in general, is to democratize Ethiopia including by doing everything possible to guarantee broad-based public participation and deliberation in the law-making process. We hope that our work, will add one more layer of improvement to the law-making experience of Ethiopia, thereby contributing some value towards building a more inclusive, just and democratic society in Ethiopia.

Mobilize Subject Area Professionals

The Council throughout its structure from top to bottom is composed of legal professionals with ample amount of experience, who are known for their great reputation in their respective fields. It is important to note what makes our work unique in this regard is that; most of the professionals are not public officials and participate in their private capacities as independent experts.

Roles assumed under the auspice of the Advisory Council itself and its subsidiaries such as the Secretariat, the Working Groups, international and domestic subject area experts, consultants, independent researchers, drafters and translators are all the positions filled by professionals vast majority of whom work on a pro bono and voluntary basis.

Identifying, placing and coordinating the work of the willing and able professionals is done by the Council through its Secretariat. This experience creates a direct link between subject matter professionals to the law-making process itself without an intermediary and as opposed to confining the entire procedure behind closed doors with only politicians in the room. This system brings these experts to the table and allows their expertise to be heard and taken in to account in the legislative process.

Implementation-Support and Evaluation

The Council is invested in measuring the normative reform efforts in terms of their sustainable implementation or providing a system though which this is done. The Council conducts thorough research and makes recommendations on measures that ought to be taken and while also establishing necessary strategies that would address resistance to change, capacity development, and the participation of a broad spectrum of the public in the realization of change.

Where requested by the Attorney General’s Office or other implementing institutions, the Council is occasionally involved in setting up implementation plans to take effect within respective government institutions and support the drafting of regulations and directives.