‘Presumption’ is an ambiguous term that one often finds in substantive and procedural laws. The controversy regarding the operation and effect of ‘presumption’ in civil proceedings has not yet been conclusively resolved despite efforts of scholars. In Ethiopia, it has been subject to different judicial interpretations. The Cassation Division of the Federal Supreme Court has adopted a binding interpretation of Art 2024 of the Civil Code on the presumption of payment of debts. Yet, the propriety of this authoritative interpretation has become contentious. This Article examines the operations and effects of presumptions in civil actions in general and inquires into the propriety of the precedent adopted by the Cassation Division. It argues that the Division’s interpretation needs to be reconsidered when the issue arises in future cases.
Key words: Presumptions, kinds of presumption, rebuttable presumptions of law, operation of presumptions, effects of presumption, persuasive & evidential presumptions.