ReNoStar GmbH takes the lead in the project “Introduction of electronic legal transactions in Ethiopia by means of prototypes”.
Within the framework of the further development of the legal system in Ethiopia, the judiciary faces new challenges.
In general, the legal systems in the federal countries of Ethiopia and Germany differ much less than might be assumed. In both countries, for example, there are multiple legal channels and different jurisdictions of the courts.
Modern electronic communication instead of letter communication is the aim in order to speed up and simplify correspondence between courts and parties involved. As the so-called Electronic Legal Transactions (ELT) is currently being established in Germany, ReNoStar is also adapting its experience and technical solutions for partners in Ethiopia.
In order to support the introduction of electronic legal transactions, the software company has played a leading role in a corresponding develoPPP project funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and Sequa. The prototype will deal with civil litigation.
Electronic legal transactions at the start
Dr. Menberetsehai, former vice president of the Federal Supreme Court in Ethiopia, sums up the main problems of jurisdiction:
“Although there have been some improvements since the recent reform programs, I still see some problems in terms of efficiency, modernity, court facilities, procedural management skills, lack of technological innovation and inexperience of judges.
We must also respect the rules on transparency and enable citizens to make their voice heard. I believe that technology has to play a key role here. The loss of files, the proper recording of testimonies, the online availability of judgments, the ability to file cases online and data on the efficiency of the courts are some of the tools that are able to create more transparency in Ethiopia”.
In the medium term, electronic legal transactions are to be rolled out throughout Ethiopia’s entire judicial system and between all potential stakeholders.
Most civil proceedings in the country are conducted directly between judges and those involved in the proceedings. This means a much greater organizational effort for the courts than for courts in Germany. For example, if you claim something from someone else, you usually go directly to the competent court and obtain a corresponding judgment.
For this reason, these procedural patterns are also included in the software applications. The first step is therefore to improve communication between parties seeking legal advice and courts.
Nevertheless, parallel representation in court by lawyers is also taken into account, as this represents a vision for the future.
Background information on Ethiopia
Ethiopia, formerly known as Abyssinia, is the only country in Africa never to be colonised. This ancient land on the horn of Africa has been a melting pot for the civilisations of North Africa, the middle east and sub-Saharan Africa since biblical times. Ethiopia is the world’s most populous landlocked country, and also the second-oldest Christian nation in the world. The paleo-anthropologists who discovered the 3.5 million year old fossil of “Lucy” there suspect Ethiopia to be the cradle of humanity.
Despite its large agricultural sector, Ethiopia is the fastest-growing economy in Africa, with growth rates exceeding 10 per cent every year. Furthermore, Ethiopia is home to the sources of the Blue Nile, is considered the ancestral home of the coffee bean, and – alongside South Africa and Morocco – is home to the largest number of UNESCO world heritage sites in Africa.