The Civil Code has been promulgated by Us at a time when the progress achieved by Ethiopia requires the modernization of the legal framework of Our Empire’s social structure so as to keep pace with the changing circumstance of this world of today. In order to consolidate the progress already achieved and to facilitate yet further growth and development, precise and detailed rules must be laid down regarding those problems which do not only face the individual citizen but the nation as a whole.
The rules contained in this Code are in harmony with the well-established legal traditions of Our Empire and the principles enshrined in the Revised Constitution granted by Us on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Our Coronation, and have called, as well, upon the best systems of law in the world.
No law which is designed to define the rights and duties of the people and to set out the principles governing their mutual relations can ever be effective if it fails to reach the heart of those to whom it is intended to apply and does not respond to their needs and customs and to natural justice.
In preparing the Civil Code, the Codification Commission convinced by Us and whose work We have directed has constantly borne in mind the special requirements Our Empire and of Our beloved subjects and has been inspired in its labors by the genius of Ethiopian legal traditions and institutions as revealed by the ancient and venerable Fetha Neguest.
It is essential that the law be clear and intelligible to each and every citizen of Our Empire, so that he may without difficulty ascertain what are his rights and duties in the ordinary course of life, and this has been accomplished in the Civil Code. It is equally important that a law which embraces a varied and diverse subject matter, as is the case with the Civil Code, form a consistent and unified whole, and this requirement, too, is fully satisfied by the law which We promulgate today.
The careful preparation of this Code by the Code by the Codification Commission and the pains taking review which it has received in Our Parliament assure that this law will achieve the purpose for which it is intended.
With the guidance of the Almighty, Fountain of Justice and Source of all wisdom and benefits, this Code will contribute to the progress of Our Empire and the welfare of Our beloved subjects of today and of the future.
Given in the 30th year of Our Region, this 5th day of May, 1960.