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Commissions

CHAPTER 3. COMMISSIONS

PARAGRAPH 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

Art. 122- Principle

Where for any of the reasons stated in this Chapter a court cannot exercise its powers to take evidence or such   other action in relation to evidence as is mentioned in Paragraph 3 of this Chapter, it may by a commission or, where such powers are to be exercised outside Ethiopia, by a letter of request, delegate its powers to such court or person, hereinafter called the commissioner, as shall be specified in the commission.

Art. 123- Expense of commission to be paid into court

(1)    Before issuing any commission under Paragraph 2 of this Chapter, the court may order such sum, if any, as it thinks reasonable for the expenses of the commission to be, within a time to fixed, paid into court by the party at whose instance or for whose benefit the commission is issued.
(2)    Where a commissioner is appointed under Paragraph 3 of this Chapter on the application of any party the provisions of Art. 112 shall apply.

Art. 124- Powers of Commissioners

Unless otherwise directed by the order of appointment, any commissioner may:
(a)    Examine the parties themselves and any witness whom they or any of them may produce, and any other person whom the commissioner  thinks proper to call up on to give evidence in the matter referred to him:
(b)    Call for and examine documents and other things relevant to the subject of inquiry;
(c)    At any reasonable time enter upon or into a land or building mentioned in the order.

Art. 125- Attendance and Examination of witness before commissioner

(1)    The provisions of this Code relating to the summoning, attendance and examination of witness, and to the remuneration of and penalties to be imposed upon, witnesses,  shall apply to persons required by the commissioner to give evidence or to produce documents and for the purposes of this Article the commissioner shall be deemed to be a civil court.
(2)    A commissioner may apply to any court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction a witness resides for the issue of any process which he may find it necessary to issued to or against such witness, and such court may, in its discretion, issue such process as it considers reasonable and proper.

Art. 126. Parties to appear before commissioner

On appointing a commissioner the court shall direct that the parties shall appear before the commissioner in person or by their agents or pleaders.

PARAGRAPH 2.  COMMISSION TO EXAMINE WITNESSES

Art. 127- When commission may be issued

(1)    The court may in any suit issue a commission for the examination of any  person:
(a)    resident within the local limits of its jurisdiction who is form sickness or infirmity unable to attend it:
(b)    resident beyond such limits:
(c)    about to leave such limits before the date on  which he is required to be examined in court and whose evidence cannot conveniently be taken under Art. 265.
(2) A commission may be issued under sub-art. (1) by the court either of its own motion or on the application, supported by  affidavit or otherwise, of any party to the suit or of the witness to be examined.
(3)    A commission issue under sub-art. (1) (a) may be issued to any person whom the court thinks fit to execute it.
(4)    A commission may be issued under sub-art. (1) (b) or (c) may be issued  to any court within the local limits of whose jurisdiction the witness to be examined resides or will be present, or to any other person whom the court issuing the commission may appoint.

Art. 128- Return of commission

(1)    Where a commission has been duly executed, it shall be returned, together with the evidence taken under it, to the court from which it was issued, unless the order for issuing the commission has otherwise directed, in which case the commission shall be returned in terms of such order.
(2)    The commission and the return thereto and the evidence taken under it shall form part of the record of the suit.

Art. 129- High Court may issue commission at instance of foreign court

(1)    Where the High Court is satisfied that a foreign court wishes to obtain the evidence of a witness in any civil proceeding before it may, subject to the provisions of Art. 130, examine such wittiness itself or issue a commission for his examination.
(2)    Evidence of the matters specified in sub-art. (1) may be given
(a)    by a certificate signed by the diplomatic representative of  the foreign country in Ethiopia and transmitted to the High Court through the Ministry of Justice;
(b)    by a letter of request issue by the foreign court and transmitted to the High Court through the Ministry of Justice,
(c)    by a letter of request issued by the foreign court and produce before the High Court-by a party to the proceeding.

Art. 130- Action by High Court

The High Court may proceed under Art. 129 up on an application :
(a)    by a party to the proceeding before the foreign court: or
(b)    by the Advocate General acting under instructions from the Ministry of Justice.

Art. 131- Preceding Articles applicable

The provisions of Arts 123-126 and 127 (4) shall apply by analogy to the issue and execution of commissions under Art, 129, and when any such commission had been duly executed it shall be returned, together with the evidence taken under it, to the High court, which shall forward it to the Ministry of Justice, along with the letter of request for transmission to the foreign court.

PARAGRAPH  3. COMMISSIONS TO TAKE OTHER ACTION IN RELATION TO EVIDENCE

Art.132- Commissions to make local investigations

In any suit in which the court deems a local investigation to be necessary for the purpose of elucidating any matter  in dispute, or of ascertaining the market-value of any property, or the amount of any menses profits damages or annual net profits, the court may appoint a commissioner and direct him to make such investigation and to report thereon to the court.

 Art. 133- Procedure of commissioner

(1)    The commissioner, after such local inspection as he deems necessary and after reducing to writing the evidence taken by him, shall return such evidence, together with his report in writing signed by him to the court.
(2)    The report of this commissioner and the evidence taken by him shall be evidence in the suit and shall form part off the record.
(3)    The court or, with the permission of the court, any off the parties to the suit may examine the commissioner on oath in open court touching any of the matters referred to him or mentioned in is report, or as to his report, or as to the manner in which he has made the investigation.

Art 134- Commission to investigate accounts

(1)    In any suit in which an examination or adjustment of accounts is necessary, the court may appoint a commissioner and direct him to make such examination or adjustment.
(2)    Any question as to the admissibility or inadmissibility of the documents or other evidence to which the investigation of accounts relates or any objection relating thereto shall be decided by the court before the commission is issued.
(3)    The court shall furnish the commissioner with such documents as have been ruled admissible under sub-art. (2) and with such part of the proceedings and such instructions as appear necessary, and the instructions shall specify whether the commissioner is merely to transmit the proceedings which he may hold on the  investigation, or also to report his own opinion on the point referred for his examination.
(4)    The court may give the commissioner special directions with regard to the mode in which the accounts are to be taken or vouched and in particular may direct that the books in which the accounts in question have been kept shall be taken as prima facie evidence of the truth of the matters therein contained with liberty to the parties interested to take such objection thereto as they may be advised.
(5)    The provisions of Art. 133 (2) and (3) shall apply to commissions issued under this Article.
Art. 135- Further investigation
Where the court is for any reason dissatisfied with the proceedings of a commissioner appointed under Art. 132 or 134, it may direct such further investigation to be made as it shall think fit.

    Art. 136- Appointment of experts

(1)    Whenever the court considers it necessary be expedient that the facts in dispute between the parties should be verified, it may or its own motion or on application issue a commission to one or more experts or other persons skilled in the matter, directing them to verify such facts and to report thereon to the court within such time as it shall fix.
(2)    The commission shall specify clearly and distinctly the facts to be verified and the provisions of Art.133 and 134 (2) and (3) shall apply in appropriate cases.