This answer is written by AI. The information provided in this response is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice. Do not rely solely on the information provided in this response for any legal decisions. Consult with a qualified legal professional before making any decisions.

Is a Loan Repayment Claim Barred by Limitation?

Question from lola, Is a Loan Repayment Claim Barred by Limitation?

Answer from AI:

When a lender loans money to a borrower, they typically agree on terms for repayment. If the borrower fails to repay the loan within the agreed timeframe, the lender may seek legal action to recover the debt. However, the right to sue for debt recovery is subject to limitation periods, which are set by law to encourage the timely resolution of disputes and to ensure legal certainty.

Understanding Limitation Periods

A limitation period is the maximum time after an event that legal proceedings based on that event may be initiated. In the context of loan agreements, if a lender does not take action to recover the debt within the limitation period, they may lose the legal right to enforce the debt through the courts.

Limitation Periods in Ethiopian Law

According to Article 1845 of the Ethiopian Civil Code, the general limitation period for claims is ten years unless otherwise specified. This means that a lender would typically have ten years from the date the loan was due to initiate legal proceedings to recover the debt.

Exceptions to the Rule

There are exceptions to the general rule on limitation periods. Article 1853(1) of the Ethiopian Civil Code provides an exception where the court may set aside a plea based on limitation if it believes that the creditor did not exercise their rights in due time due to obedience or fear of the debtor, to whom they are bound by close ties.

  • If the lender did not ask for repayment due to fear or a sense of obedience stemming from their relationship with the borrower, this could be considered an exception to the general limitation period.
  • The court will assess the circumstances to determine if the exception applies, potentially allowing the lender to pursue the claim despite the expiration of the general limitation period.

Legal Advice and Next Steps

In such cases, it is crucial for the lender to provide evidence supporting their claim that they did not pursue the debt due to the reasons outlined in Article 1853(1). The court will consider this evidence when deciding whether to allow the claim to proceed.

It is highly recommended that individuals in such situations seek personalized legal advice. A legal professional can offer guidance on the likelihood of success in court, help gather and present evidence, and navigate the complexities of the legal system.


While the general limitation period for debt recovery in Ethiopia is ten years, exceptions exist that may allow a creditor to pursue a claim beyond this period. The specific circumstances of the lender’s inaction, such as fear or obedience to the borrower, will be key in determining whether the exception applies. Individuals facing such legal issues should consult with a lawyer to explore their options and develop a strategy for moving forward with their claim.

For more information on the Ethiopian Civil Code, you can refer to the Civil Code of Ethiopia.

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