The School of Law was inaugurated in 1963 by Emperor Haile Sellassie I as part of the then Haile Sellassie I University (HSIU).

The need to open a law school was expressed in the Emperor’s opening speech as pivotal in training Ethiopian lawyers in Ethiopian laws. That was the time the country just enacted the major substantive and procedure laws/codes. Having been dependent on foreigners, particularly the British in the judiciary, Ethiopia embarked on what can be termed as a massive self-capacity building in the legal education and administration of justice. Since then the Law School has trained thousands of graduates that have served the country in the judicial, administrative and academic institutions.

The initial curriculum of the School was based on the three year training adapted from the American law schools. Likewise, having a first degree was made an admission requirement following the American way. Since that time several curricular changes have been made and currently the school implements modular curriculum both in the LL.B. and the four LL.M. programs. The School’s evening program was first launched to offer law diploma, and was upgraded to the degree level in the 2000s.

The school publishes a bi-annual journal (the Journal of Ethiopian Law), series on Business Law, Constitutional Law, and Human Rights Law and Addis Ababa University Student Law Review.


The School of Law aspires to become center of excellence in legal education, research and community services, celebrated nationally, respected in Africa and renowned globally.


The School aims to train in law all-rounded, critical and socially conscious learners, develop and disseminate knowledge through scholarly research, and provide high quality legal consultancy and legal aid services to the community.

Program objectives

The LL.B. Program at the School of Law aims at providing basic legal training to produce high caliber graduates. Specifically it aims to:

  • equip students with the basic knowledge of major national legislations and procedures, along with the skills of legal interpretation required to solve legal problems;
  • train professionals who will be able to undertake the technical aspects of drafting and revising laws;
  • enhance the critical thinking abilities of students so that they can understand and implement laws as judges, practicing lawyers, prosecutors, public defenders or academicians;
  • train professionals who can deliver legal advice in public and business laws either by working for particular firms or individuals seeking such advice;
  • educate individuals who will be able to speak to and advise clients with professionalism, understanding and responsibility;
  • prepare dedicated persons who can research and publish, and hence reinforce Ethiopian legal jurisprudence;
  • produce legal professionals who serve society with the highest heed to ethical values, strive to defend rights and liberties and uphold the fundamentals of the rule of law.

 Graduate Profile

 Graduates from the LL.B. program will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Work as judges and prosecutors at various levels of the federal and state court structures in Ethiopia;
  • Serve as public defenders for persons accused of committing crimes;
  • Practice law individually or along with other legal professionals at any level of the court structures in the country, depending on the class of license issued;
  • Provide services as legal advisors to business organizations, governmental agencies or non-governmental organizations;
  • Render high-quality research service to organizations as consultants or permanent employees;
  • Engage in teaching at Law Schools in higher education institutions across the nation; and
  •  Work individually or in establishments with a view to enhancing individual and group rights, the rule of law, good governance, and the deepening of constitutionalism and democratic values through research, education, advocacy and awareness-raising enterprises.