The Roles of Family Arbitrators in the Settlement of Disputes Arising out of Marriage and the Constraints Thereof: The Law and the Practice in Oromia National Regional State

  • Birhanu Midakso
  • Serkalem Eshetie
Keywords: Arbitrators; Dispute; Family law; Marriage; Oromia


Marriage is one of the essentials of society that forms the basis
for family institution. Even though harmony and permanence are
emphasized ideals in a marriage, spouses, however, enter into disputes due
to various factors. In most part of Oromia region, family arbitrators play
important role in settling disputes arising out of marriage though their
previous power is detracted by the region‟s family law. Hence, this study
investigates the actual roles of family arbitrators in settling disputes arising
out of marriage, and the practical and legal challenges therein using a
socio-legal approach. To this end, a descriptive cross-sectional qualitative
research design was employed. The study used multi-stage and random
sampling techniques to identify the study areas, and purposive sampling
technique to select respondents. Data were collected through in-depth
interview, focus group discussion, and key informant interview. Then, they
were sorted out, categorized, and analyzed thematically. Despite the
withering away of their power by the Oromia family law and other
challenges they have, the study has revealed that family arbitrators still play
a significant role in settling disputes arising out of marriage, particularly in
the countryside. Besides, it is uncovered that the family law lacks a strong
socio-cultural base during its enactment which in turn has led to its
unsatisfactory implementation. To ensure the compatibility between the law
and the culture, and make family arbitration effective, equitable and context
sensitive, the study suggests the need for proper harmonization between the
law and the culture of the society by concerned stakeholders.

Author Biographies

Birhanu Midakso

Haramaya University, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Department of

Serkalem Eshetie

Haramaya University, College of Law