Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Residence

 

Definition

“The residence of a person is the place where he normally resides” (Article 174). The French version uses the word “habitually” instead of “normally; and the Amharic version that reads “ለጊዜው የሚኖርበት ሥፍራ ነው” is apparently a mistranslation.

Rationale

The determination of residence is essential for the purposes of marriage (597 CC., Art. 22 of the Revised Family Code), successions (826), contracts (1755/2) and summons (Art.106 of the Civil Procedure Code).  It is also essential during elections, for taxation and other purposes. 

 

Residence –versus- mere sojourn 

Residence is different from a mere sojourn in a certain place for some days or weeks.  Thus mere sojourn in a place doesn’t constitute residence (175/1).  Yet, residence is acquired if a person’s sojourn (ጊዜያዊ ቆይታ) is to last or actually lasts for the period stated under Article 175.  If a person:

      intends to stay at a place (i.e.- at a sojourn) for more than three months, or,

      actually stays in such sojourn for more than three months without a prior   intention of staying that long, he acquires residence (175/2) in such place. 

          

    It should be noted that a sojourn which is intended to last for more than three      months is considered as residence from the moment the person starts living in        the sojourn provided that he intends to stay there beyond three months.

    

                    Illustration:

                    A person has a villa at the seaside and goes there regularly during his vacation, for a month or so.  Such place could be considered a residence for the period, while this would not be true if each period of vacation was spent in a villa rented in a different

place.                                                                                      Vanderlinden, p.34

 

Principal and secondary residence

A person may have several residences (177), and in such cases one of them shall be considered as “principal residence” owing to the criteria of normality, frequency and the length of time that a person relatively stays in one of the residences. The issue whether a person’s presence in a particular residence is normally more predictable than that of other residence(s), and how frequently and how long he lives in that particular place are the factors we may consider when two or more residences seem to have the characteristics of principal residence .

 

Stipulated residence

Residence may be stipulated for the purpose of a specific relationship, business or activity (181).  Agreement of the person in whose favour the stipulation is made is mandatory (182).

 

Residence determined by law

Persons without proved residence: 

“The place where such person is shall be deemed to be his residence” (176) because a person has to have at least one residence.

 

Married couple, minors and judicially interdicted persons:

Married couple shall live together in their conjugal residence (Article 640/1 of the Civil Code and Articles 53 and 54 of the Revised Family Code). In addition to the conjugal residence, a married woman may have her own residence (178/1).  Minors and interdicted persons may have residence of their own other than the one (178/2) determined by the guardian for the minor (265) or the interdicted person (Art.362).

Public officials and traders

The place where a public official exercises his functions is considered as his residence (179), and the place where a person carries on trade shall be deemed to be the residence of the trader (180).  

 

Special rules of residence

Although a person acquires residence if s/he stays in a place for three months (Art. 175), there are special rules that require longer periods.  For the purpose of marriage, elections and taxation, the law requires longer periods of residence owing to the fact that a minimum of six months have been considered to be necessary.  It is to be noted that a spouse need not be resident of the place where his/her marriage is to be registered if his/her parents or close relatives are residents of the place for over six months.  

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