Business Law in Ethiopia Dilla University

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INTRODUCTION

“Business law” refers to the whole regulatory environment in which individuals or ‘organizations’ engage regularly for the purpose of securing commercial returns. It is a legal regime with the object of shaping the behavior of “actors” in business transactions. There is a vested interest for the law, like any other human relationships it claims to regulate, to step into the work-for-profit areas in order to ensure that commercial interactions are conducted in a proper manner. The legal regulation of business is even more sensitive because engagement in business is an extension of a constitutional right to property so that there must be a mechanism of the law that enables individuals to be shielded against unwelcoming practices that prejudice their right without of course affecting the rights of others. The law of commerce is indispensable not only from the view point of individual right to property but also because it constitutes a fundamental economic unit of a nation’s economic performance and status as a whole. In this sense, business law makes a huge contribution to the strong economic wellbeing of a state and to the accompanying betterment of society’s economic position. The legal framework that governs business activities prescribes the conduct required of business-persons in their commercial life, and solves business disputes in the ultimate aim of keeping the tranquility of the business environment.

The Ethiopian “law of business” would also have as its object the advancement of the above interests. This module centers upon the Ethiopian law with the fair treatment of the relevant fundamental principles of law that are generally accepted in the business world. It is particularly concerned with such visible areas as contracts, agency, sales, commercial instruments and insurance among other things. These areas substantially impinge upon economic sphere of interactions and, therefore, important for business people and other actors.

The course is designed to equip students with fundamental legal tools when deal with business matters. You would be enabled to overcome various business challenges involving legal questions in your future professional careers. It is hoped that you are already well aware of general business ideals. Therefore, it suffices that you possess basic knowledge in economic and business principles. You are going to be briefly introduced about the law in this module.

The structure of the module is such that first considerations about law in general are made. Then follows the exploration of the legal regime whereby legal transactions emerge, the law of personality. The law of contracts, a relatively wider and indispensable area for you as a businessperson, comes next. Special types of contracts, agency and sale, are also separately treated because of their fundamental importance to the business world and will appear in the module in that order. Principles of modern commercial law, as contained in the 1960 Commercial Code of Ethiopia would mark the completion of this peace of writing. Traders and business organizations, insurance and negotiable instruments are addressed under this part. The module contains a number of self-check and summary questions at the end of each chapter. You are strongly advised to attempt all those questions and check your understanding of the matters covered in this module. Well come to business law. I wish you good study.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION TO LAW AND THE LEGAL ENVIRONMENT OF BUSINESS

The successful completion and study of this chapter is expected to be accompanied by the attainment of the following objectives: - Distinguishing between/among the various schools of juridical thought that evidence the absence of a generally agreeable definition of the word “law”;

- Noticing that law is more understood in terms of its features and functions rather than interims of what it...
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