Oromia Law Journal

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The Share of Women during Succession under State Laws and Sharia Law: Comparative Study

Mohammed Ibrahim


The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopian Constitution recognizes
equality of gender and prohibits all forms of discrimination against women. Equality of share on inheritance is one of the mechanisms through which the equality of two genders is recognized under the Constitution. At the same time, the Constitution recognizes the adjudica tion of disputes relating to personal and family laws in accordance with reli gious or customary laws, with the consent of the parties to the dispute. However, Sharia Courts which are established pursuant to this recognition and apply substantive Sharia laws (succession laws) allow women to inherit half of men which is totally distinctive from equality clause recognized under the Constitution. Since legal pluralism that is recognized in this manner presupposes the acceptance of overlapping rule or potential difference between multiplicities of legal orders, according to the author, decisions rendered by Sharia courts (that
apply Islamic succession law) should not be expected to meet standards of the Constitution as long as the procedural requirements to institute a case before Sharia courts (which require the consent of the litigating parties to be adjudicated in a Sharia court) are fulfilled. It is also better if the share given to women under Islamic succession law is considered from the perspectives of the reason that justifies it and not from the perspectives of constitutional order.

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