The Part Bar Associations Can Play in Rule of Law

The Part Bar Associations Can Play in Rule of Law

Mar 2 , 2019.

Dear Editor

Chief Justice Meaza Asheafi’s commentary headlined “Constitutional Rights, Meaningless without Independent Judiciary” [Vol.19, No. 982, February 24, 2019] that ran in this publication is interesting, educating and much appreciated. All the activities undertaken up to now within the judiciary system are encouraging.

Although I am not a lawyer, I had the opportunity to work in a project on court administration and case flow management funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and have tried to learn how laws are enacted in some countries to ensure the rule of law.

For instance, Canada has a strong bar - as it is known in law - which is composed of legal professionals from the lowest level of the administrative organ up to the top national level.

Since these professionals are selected from among the citizens, they can identify issues that erode trust in the community and can suggest or initiate changes to “enable people who do not know each other personally to live together in harmony,” as the Chief Justice put it.

They present their suggestion to their community, rationally, and take it up to their bar organization after garnering support in the community. A draft law is then prepared and distributed to other bar organisations for consideration and review.

A draft that incorporates the reviews is then sent to bar associations in the higher administrative organs for more reviews, corrections and competency and then passed to the national bar association so that it is presented to parliament for consideration. Even if the executive body wants to propose the enactment of a law, the standard is to pass it through the established bar associations.

Such procedures for enacting laws should be considered for future implementation in our diversified country since it allows participation of the major stakeholders, the diversified public, the professionals in the field and the executive body. Above all, it will help ensure the rule of law.

I am optimistic that we will have a large number of legal professionals joining their communities shortly given the rate at which universities are graduating law students.

Gebrewold Lemma

Addis Abeba

PUBLISHED ON Mar 02,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 983]