Litigation 2019 Second Edition

Last Updated December 05, 2019

Lebanon

Law and Practice

Authors



Obeid Law Firm is a full-service law firm operating across the MENA region from its headquarters in Beirut and its representative office in Paris. OLF is widely acknowledged as one of the leading law firms both in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East. The firm’s expertise, grounded on a strong understanding of the local laws and practice, extends from Lebanon to the wider MENA region and beyond. The firm is regularly sought for advice on legal reforms in various fields across the MENA region and has been at the forefront of drafting model laws on behalf of the Arab League. The breadth of the firm’s capabilities is reflected in the diversity of OLF’s clientele, ranging from foreign governments and public entities, to national and multinational companies, including oil companies, investment funds, financial institutions, telecommunication providers, construction and service companies as well as SMEs. OLF is frequently called upon to provide legal expertise on points of Lebanese and Middle Eastern legislation before international arbitral tribunals and courts around the world.

Lebanon has a civil law legal system and, thus, follows the inquisitorial model. The legal process is conducted primarily through written submissions. 

As Lebanon is a unitary state, there are no federal courts in Lebanon.

The courts in Lebanon are divided into two parts - the judicial courts (those dealing with criminal and civil laws), and the courts dealing with administrative matters.

The Council of State is currently the sole judicial body dealing with administrative disputes. To date, lower level administrative courts have not been established.

The civil courts are in charge of adjudicating civil disputes. They are divided into chambers depending on the nature of the dispute, as follows:

  • the Commercial Chamber is competent in determining/adjudicating commercial and financial disputes between corporate entities;
  • the Financial Chamber is competent in determining/adjudicating financial disputes between individuals; and
  • the Personal Statute Chamber is in charge of determining adjudicating matters relating to nationality, inheritance, matrimonial issues, etc.

In addition to the above, there are special chambers which deal with lease issues, real estate issues, labour law and bankruptcy matters. There is also a “one judge court” for summary proceedings, and an Enforcement Bureau which deals with enforcement proceedings.

The civil courts are divided into:

  • Courts of First Instance: which are presided over by a single judge or a panel of three judges, and are in charge of examining civil law claims. The "one judge court" usually examines specific matters such as leases and claims of a lesser value than the ones examined by a panel of three judges.
  • Courts of Appeal: which are based in the administrative centre of each district (Mouhafazat) and are mandated to serve as a second degree court reviewing the decisions of lower courts (ie, the Courts of First Instance).
  • Court of Cassation: which is a Court of Law, as opposed to a court of fact, and serves as the ultimate judicial recourse.

Another aspect of the judiciary in Lebanon is the Constitutional Council (Conseil constitutionnel). This branch oversees review of statutes before they are enacted in addition to overseeing national elections and responding to questions from citizens regarding the constitutionality of laws.

In civil and commercial matters, Court proceedings are subject to the provisions of the Lebanese Code of Civil Procedure (LCCP), issued by legislative decree no 90/83 and its subsequent amendments.

The civil courts filings are public and the parties are not anonymised in judgments. Persuant to Article 484 LCCP, the civil hearings are public unless the court decides on its own volition, or upon any of the Parties’ request, to keep a hearing private in order to preserve public order or for family privacy; however, the judgements will still be publicly announced. TV cameras and photographers are not permitted in court.

In principle, legal representatives should be qualified in Lebanon in order to appear before the Lebanese courts. A Lebanese lawyer should hold a power of attorney from their client in order to appear on its behalf before courts of law, ie, the courts of first instance, the courts of appeal and the courts of cassation. However, appointing a lawyer is not a must before the Council of Arbitral Labour, as the concerned individual may attend on their own behalf. Further, a trainee lawyer is not entitled to attend hearings before the courts of appeal and cassation.

Pursuant to Article 115 of the law of organisation of the legal profession in Lebanon, a foreign lawyer may, upon a special permit granted by the President of the Bar, plead a specific case before the Lebanese courts, provided there is a similar treatment concerning the Bar of which the foreign lawyer is member, and provided such permission is issued on a case by case basis. 

The law does not address this issue. To the best of our knowledge, there have been no lawsuits in Lebanon involving third-party litigation funders.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction, insofar as third-party litigation funding is concerned.

The Lebanese Legal Profession Act provides that legal fees are determined by an agreement concluded between the lawyer and the client. The Act does not provide an indication nor a restriction on the nature of the agreement which remains subject to the parties’ contractual free will. Insofar as a third-party funding is concerned, a careful structure is required to ensure that such arrangements would not fall under the prohibition of excessive riba under Lebanese law (see usury Law of 24 June 1939).

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

The court does not impose any rules on the parties in relation to pre-action conduct, per se. However, a notice is usually sent to the defaulting party to remedy the breach before initiating proceedings. The notice, in some instances, is mandatory. Such notice usually provides a time limit for the defendant to reply and remedy the breach before the plaintiff will commence judicial proceedings.

It should be noted that in some instances the creditor is exempted from sending such notice, ie, when the performance of the obligation becomes impossible, or when the obligation was to return an item/asset that was stolen, or when the term of the obligation has lapsed (Article 258 Code of Obligations and Contracts COC).

The statues of limitations concerning civil suits are regulated by the COC. In general, the statute of limitation in civil matters is ten years (Article 349 COC). However, statutes of limitations of shorter duration apply in some specific types of disputes (Article 350-352 COC).

The statute of limitation runs from the day “debt” (ie, generally, the obligation) becomes due and can be invoked before the courts by a party.

Further, Article 509 of the LCCP allows the parties to request that the lawsuit be dropped if the proceedings remain inactive for a period of two years, starting from the date of the last valid procedural step. The same decision may be taken by the court, without a request from any party, if the proceedings remain inactive for a period of five years (Article 512 (2) LCCP).

In general, and unless otherwise stated by law, the competent court is determined in light of the defendant’s domicile (Article 97 LCCP).

Jurisdictional requirements are governed by Articles 97 et seq of the LCCP, and will differ depending on the nature of the dispute.

For instance, if the lawsuit is in relation to real estate, the competent court is the one where the plot is located (Article 98 LCCP).

As to disputes arising out of the performance of a civil or commercial contract, jurisdiction is granted to the court:

  • where the effective residence of the defendant is located;
  • the defendant’s chosen domicile;
  • where the contract was concluded and one of its principal obligations was to be performed therein; or
  • where the contract was entirely performed (Article 100 LCPP).

For disputes relating to legal entities, the court where the legal entity's head offices are located is competent. If a branch of the legal entity is the party concerned with the dispute, then the court where the branch is located may look into the dispute (Article 101 LCCP).

Moreover, the parties may not exclude the obligatory territorial jurisdiction stated in Articles 108–112 LCCP:

  • Article 108 provides that claims arising from bankruptcy issues fall under the competence of the court which declared the bankruptcy.
  • Article 109 provides that claims relating to life insurance fall under the competence of the court which is located within the residence of the insured.
  • Article 110 states that claims related to insurance accidents fall under the competence of the court that is located at the residence of the insured or at the place of the accident.
  • Article 111 states that the claims related to fire insurance fall under the competence of the court located within the place of the fire incident.
  • Article 112 provides that claims where the law explicitly requires them to be filed before a specific court must be filed before said court to the exclusion of other courts.

Regarding public prosecutions, the lawsuit is filed either before the court where the crime has occurred, the defendant’s domicile, or where the defendant was arrested (Article 7 Code of Criminal Procedure).

Proceedings in civil and commercial matters are initiated by filing a submission before a clerk of the relevant Court’s office.

The plaintiff should have the requisite locus standi to file a claim (Article 9 of the LCCP). The initial complaint should be filed before the competent court and should include the following information (Article 443 LCCP):

  • the name of the court before which the claim is filed;
  • the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s respective names, professions, residences, and the name of their representatives, if any;
  • the facts, legal grounds, evidence and relief sought;
  • the date of the claim and the plaintiff’s signature or the signature of its legal representative; and
  • the exhibits enclosed with the complaint.

By reference to Article 365 LCCP, the dispute subject matter is specified by the parties’ requests for relief as stated in the initial complaint and the subsequent submissions.

Pursuant to Article 31 LCCP, the plaintiff may file incidental requests intended to correct the initial complaint, to complete it or amend its subject matter or its purpose.

In the same context, Article 32 LCCP provides that the defendant may also file incidental requests, in particular  set-off request or a damages request for the harm incurred due to the filing of the initial complaint or to a procedural act taken during the proceedings.

It is important to note that the above-mentioned incidental requests should satisfy  the requirements stated in Article 30 LCCP, which requires the correlation of the incidental requests with the initial complaint, to be within the jurisdiction of the court ruling on the initial complaint, and not within the jurisdiction of an arbitral tribunal.

Rules of service are provided for under Articles 397 et seq of the LCCP. As such, notification is prima facie served by a bailiff. It may also be carried out via the police, the interior security forces, or a court clerk.

In civil matters, the plaintiff is usually required to initiate service of the lawsuit. However, the procedure of service is undertaken by judicial employees. In other words, the court clerk is responsible for drafting the notice, and the bailiff for delivering it.

A party may be sued outside the jurisdiction (Article 7 LCCP).

In this respect, Article 413 LCCP provides that a registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt must be sent. Notification may also be made through the Lebanese embassy or consulate located in the country where notification is sought, or in accordance with the latter’s local law.

According to Article 468 CCP paragraph 2, if the defendant fails to appear before the court at the first hearing without a reasonable excuse, despite being duly notified, the court may render a judgment upon the plaintiff’s request.

Class actions are not available under Lebanese Law.

The Bar has put in place a scale for lawyers’ fees, such as a company’s incorporation fees, contracts fees, annual companies and individuals' proxies’ fees, lawsuits percentage fees; however, this scale is not mandatory for lawyers and is usually referred to as a guideline.

Further, Law no 8/70, dated 11 March 1970, regulates the legal profession by addressing lawyers’ fees. As such, Article 69 thereof states that a lawyer’s fees are prima facie agreed upon in writing between the client and the lawyer.

Pursuant to the same article, the courts are competent to determine the lawyer’s fees where no written agreement exists between the client and the lawyer. However, such determination should be made in light of the Council of the Bar’s opinion and in consideration of the importance of the case, the work undertaken by the lawyer, and the situation of the client.

The trial judge and the judge of summary measures can, upon the request of any of the parties, either in consideration of a guarantee or without it, order provisional and conservatory measures for the protection of rights and the prevention of harm, such as apposition of seal, setting an asset's inventory, order the sequestration, selling of perishable assets and describing the status quo of a situation (Article 589 LCCP). The petitioner has to show that its rights are in danger and imminent harm that necessitates interim relief as a matter of urgency in order to protect its rights.

Procedural pleas to dismiss the case at a preliminary stage before addressing the merits of the case are also available under Lebanese law (exception de procédure), such as lack of jurisdiction, lis pendence or connexity of the claims, nullity of the complaint or other procedural acts, request for an extension of time, transfer of the lawsuit due to legitimate doubts or existence of family relationship (Articles 52 to 68 LCCP).

Early judgement applications are usually related to interim relief (see 4.1 Interim Applications/Motions) or ex parte proceedings (Articles 594 to 612 LCCP ) such as the appointment of an expert, initiating estate proceedings, etc.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

The involvement of third parties in proceedings is regulated by Articles 36 et seq of the CCP. Pursuant to Article 36 CCP, a third party can intervene in the trial proceedings and become a party upon the submission of a reasoned request before the court. The court shall rule on such request and authorise a third party to join a lawsuit. In the same context, Article 38 CCP provides that any party in the trial may request the joinder of a third party to hear the judgment, or to condemn it with respect to claims similar to those of one of the parties, or for warranty purpose. However, the failure to join a particular party does not preclude a litigant third party from bringing the same or similar claims against that party.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

The judge may grant the interim application in consideration of a guarantee. The LCCP does not provide further details as to the costs. In practice, the costs are subject to the court’s discretion. In general, the losing party incurs the costs of the proceedings only in relation to judicial costs. The Court will generally not rule on attorney’s fees.

The LCCP does not explicitly provide for a timeframe for a court to deal with an interim application. However, Article 583 LCCP states that the judge of summary proceedings, who is competent to look into applications, shall render the decision without delay. 

Discovery is not covered by Lebanese legislation.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

According to Article 203 LCCP, a party may request the opponent to produce any document essential for the outcome of the dispute, provided that:

  • the law allows the above party to request such document production or deliverance;
  • if the document is common between the requesting party and the opponent. The document is considered common if it is drafted in the interest of either party, or evidences their mutual rights and obligations; and
  • if the opponent relied on the document at any time of the proceedings.

Attorney-client privilege is clearly set out in Law no 8/70 regulating the legal profession. This law applies solely to lawyers registered at the Bar. According to Article 92 thereof, the lawyer is prohibited from disclosing any information confided in them, or that they became aware of via their profession, even after the termination of his/her mandate. The lawyer is also prohibited from testifying against their client in a lawsuit in which they currently act or have previously acted as counsel.

However, it should be noted that a lawyer may testify against their client in a lawsuit relating to the attorney’s fees. The testimony shall be limited to the case at hand.

To the extent that in-house counsel are registered lawyers at the Bar, the application of legal privilege is extended to them.

There are no particular rules in the LCCP with respect to disallowing disclosure of a document. This is usually subject to specific rules or regulations with respect to disclosure of documents such as bank secrecy laws, professional regulations, etc.

As mentioned, the trial judge and the judge of summary proceedings can order provisional and protective measures that necessitates relief to be granted as a matter of urgency, in order to protect its rights.

The LCCP does not provide for a particular timeframe for the judge to issue urgent injunctive relief. However, the LCCP provides that the judge should render their decision without delay (Article 583 LCCP). In addition, the judge may, when the circumstances require so, decide to hear the parties outside of court’s hours and during public holidays (Article 582 LCCP).

Injunctive relief can be obtained on an ex parte basis pursuant to Article 593 LCCP onwards.

The applicant may be held liable for damages suffered by the respondent if the former abused their right in bringing a lawsuit (Article 10 LCCP). As such, they may be held liable of a penalty ranging from LBP40,000 to LBP2 million (Article 11 LCCP).

As a general rule, the Lebanese judge has jurisdiction over assets located within Lebanese territory, which is a matter of sovereignty. Unless provided otherwise in a treaty concluded between Lebanon and another country, injunctive relief cannot be granted against worldwide assets of a respondent. 

Injunctive relief can be obtained against third parties. For instance, a seizure may be obtained against the debtor’s assets that are in the possession of a third party. As such, the third party will be prohibited from disposing of said sums. This possibility is restricted to the following assets (Article 881 LCCP):

  • the amounts and liquid debts, even if incumbent upon a condition;
  • financial papers that are priced or priceable in the stock exchange and issued as shares, nominal bonds, mixed bonds;
  • incomes and profits generated by companies;
  • parts in companies even before the company’s dissolution; and
  • fungible assets and movable assets.

The judge of summary proceedings may order a penalty if the respondent fails to comply with the terms of an injunction (Article 587 LCCP).

The trial process in civil cases is mainly conducted in writing. However, the procedure may involve witness examination (Article 2454 to 298 LCCP) and expert examination (Article 308-312 LCCP).

The court has a discretionary power in the organisation of the hearings.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

The burden of proof is on the party asserting a fact (Article 132 LCCP). The court may order an investigation to complement the parties’ evidence (Article 135 LCCP).

According to Article 313 LCCP, the court may designate an expert to perform an expertise or to submit technical advice or to undertake a technical investigation for a specific matter.

Depending on the circumstances of a case, there is nothing preventing a party from submitting expert reports/opinions, which would be treated as documentary evidence in the file.

See 1.3 Court Filings and Proceedings.

The judge is in charge of the proper conduct of the proceedings. During the examination of witnesses and experts, the judge plays an active role and is the one in charge of conducting the examination of witnesses and experts.

Depending on the complexity of the case, the proceedings before the court of first instance vary between three months to four years.

The parties can, at any time of the trial proceedings, conclude a settlement, even partially, and ask the judge to render a decision ratifying such settlement (Article 461 LCCP).

The settlement of a lawsuit may remain confidential if agreed upon by the parties.

Settlement agreements can be enforced before the judge of execution.

Lebanese law does not specifically provide for a mechanism regarding the setting-aside of settlement agreements. However, settlement agreements are subject to contract law. 

A successful litigant will either obtain specific performance or damages. 

Damages are, in principle, assessed by the Court. They can also be determined by law or pursuant to the parties’ agreement (Article 259 COC). In addition to material damages, Lebanese law further provides for compensation for moral damages (Article 263).

As a general rule, damages must correspond to the damage incurred and to the loss of profit (Article 260 COC). Indirect damages are taken into account provided they are in direct connection with the non-performance of the obligation (Article 261 COC). The competent judge may also exceptionally order compensation for future damages if there is certainty as to their realisation, and if they can be precisely assessed (Article 264 COC).

Regarding contracts, compensation only encompasses damages that were foreseeable at the conclusion of the contract, provided that the debtor has committed no fraud (Article 262 COC).

The parties may also set in advance the amount of damages that will be due in case of partial or total non-performance of the obligations incumbent upon the debtor (“Penal Clause”, in french, “Clause Pénale”). This clause may either be inserted in the contract or in a separate deed. The judge may reduce the amount if deemed excessive, or if the main obligation has been partially performed (Article 266).

Interest will be computed when the claim/right becomes due, which according to the circumstances of the case, may fall before or after the judgement is entered. 

The statutory limit is of five years and runs from the day the obligation/right becomes due (Articles 348 and 350 COC).

The Enforcement Bureau is the competent entity through which a domestic judgment is enforced (Article 828 LCCP). A domestic judgment cannot be enforceable unless it has the force of res judicata (Article 836 LCCP).

A request for enforcement should be presented at the clerk’s office of the Enforcement Bureau including all relevant details (ie, the name of the person requesting enforcement, the name of the opponent, their residence, titles (or nicknames), capacity, and elected domicile) along with the judgment which execution is sought, the requested amount, and the assets to be sequestered where relevant, etc (Article 837 LCCP).

Foreign judgments are recognised in Lebanon via an exequatur request which is an ex parte procedure. Article 1014 of the LCCP provides that exequatur is granted to a foreign judgment that satisfies the following conditions:

  • The judgment should be rendered by competent judges in accordance with the laws of the country in which the decision was rendered, on the condition that their competence is not only determined by the nationality of the plaintiff. In the event that two foreign judgments are rendered by two/in the name of two different jurisdictions but in relation to the same subject matter and among the same opponents, the Enforcement Order is granted to the judgment which is in conformity with the rules of the Lebanese Law pertaining to international competence.
  • The judgment should be enforceable and should have acquired the force of res judicata in the country where it was rendered. Nevertheless, the Enforcement Order can be granted to provisional and ex parte decisions that have become enforceable in the concerned country.
  • The losing party should have been duly notified of the lawsuit that resulted in the judgment and the right of defence was duly accorded/provided to them.
  • The judgment should be rendered in the name of a country whose laws allow the enforceability of Lebanese judgments on its territories after scrutinising them or after giving them an exequatur.
  • The judgment does not violate public policy.

Article 639 LCCP provides that all decisions issued by the Court of First Instance may be subject to appeal save for those that are excluded by the law. According to Article 640 LCCP, the decisions adjudicating a dispute of an amount not exceeding LBP3 million cannot be subject to appeal. However, the decisions issued by the Council of Arbitral Labour are not subject to appeal but only to cassation.

The procedure of appeal is governed by Articles 638-667 LCCP. As stated above, all judgments issued by the courts of first instance may be subject to appeal, unless provided otherwise by law (Article 639 LCCP). Further, the appeal is filed by virtue of a submission at the court registry. It shall be signed by a lawyer and include the appealed judgement with mention of the court of first of instance that issued it, the date, the reasons upon which the party is relying in its request and the requests for relief (Article 655 LCCP).The grounds for appeal are set out under 10.4 Issues Considered by the Appeal Court at an Appeal.

Unless otherwise provided by law, the timeframe to lodge an appeal (Article 643 LCCP) are as follows:

  • eight days from receiving notification of a decision issued by the judge of summary proceedings, the President of the Execution Bureau, and all decisions ordering interim measures; and
  • 30 days from receiving notification of the other types of decisions issued by the court of first instance.

Expect when provided in a special text of law, the time limit to file an appeal starts running from the day of receipt of the decision (Article 643 LCCP).

An appeal may not be made in relation to disputes which amount does not exceed LBP3 million (Article 640 LCCP).

However, lower courts’ decisions (ie, the decisions rendered by the Court of First Instance) are subject to appeal irrespective of the amount in dispute in case of:

  • lack of jurisdiction;
  • annulment of the judgement when such judgement is vitiated or is based on fundamental procedural acts deemed null;
  • contradiction in the dispositive section of the judgement;
  • omission to rule on one of the parties’ claims; or
  • judgement ruled on claim that was not raised by the parties or ruled on more than what has been claimed.

The court of appeal will review the case as a whole, ie, the facts and the law.

New claims are not in principle allowed at the appeal stage unless:

  • these new claims were part of counterclaims;
  • they were explicitly or implicitly arising out of the initial claim;
  • they relate to a set-off;
  • they were used as defences to reject the counterparty’s claims;
  • they aimed to decide on issues arising out of the interference of a third party; or
  • they aimed to prevent or discovering a factual circumstance (Article 662 LCCP).

In any event, new claims will be accepted in the absence of an objection from the opposing party (Article 662 LCCP in fine).

The courts may not impose conditions on granting an appeal other than those stated by the law. As stated in 10.1 Levels of Appeal or Review to a Litigation, all judgments issued by the courts of first instance may be appealed, unless provided otherwise by law.

After hearing an appeal, the court of appeal either validates or invalidates the court of first instance’s judgment. The court of appeal’s decision may be subject to appeal before the court of cassation in certain conditions are met.

In principle, a losing party bears the costs of the successful party. Said costs include the fees, costs and expenses the successful party paid in order to file and plead its claim. Lawyers’ fees are not usually reimbursed in full.

The court has discretionary power when awarding costs and takes into account the circumstances of the case.

This is not applicable in our jurisdiction.

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is well viewed in Lebanon. Arbitration is the most popular ADR method.  Judicial Mediation is also another method that has been recently favoured through the enactments of Law 82, entered into forceon 18 October 2018, regarding judicial mediation.

As set out in 12.1 Views of Alternative Dispute Resolution Within the Country, the legal system in Lebanon favours ADR, notably arbitration and mediation.

It should also be noted that the LCCP stipulates that the conciliation between the parties is inherent in the judge’s duties (Article 375 LCCP). However, such conciliation made by the judge during the court proceedings is not mandatory and there are no sanctions for refusing to engage in conciliation.

The main institutions offering and promoting ADR are the Lebanese Arbitration Centre of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Agriculture of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, founded in 1995, which has its own Rules of Conciliation and Arbitration, and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) Lebanon Branch, which principally serves as a forum for education and training in ADR and may sometimes act as an appointing authority.

The LCCP devotes its second chapter to arbitration and its provisions are based on the old French arbitration law decrees no 80-354 of 14 May 1980 and no 81-500 of 12 May 1981). The LCCP makes a distinction between domestic arbitration and international arbitration, the latter being governed by more liberal rules.

Lebanon is a signatory to the New York Convention with a reservation that the government of Lebanon will apply the convention, on the basis of reciprocity, to the recognition and enforcement of awards made only in the territory of another contracting state. Lebanon also ratified the Washington Convention, among others, on 26 March 2003.

Under Lebanese law, the following types of disputes are not arbitrable and are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Lebanese national courts:

  • Questions of personal status (nationality, age, adoption) and questions of social status (divorce and marriage). However, Article 1037 of the Code of Obligations and Contracts (COC) allows for an exception regarding financial compensation resulting from personal status disputes. In this case, arbitration is confined to the compensation sought.
  • Non-negotiable personal rights such as the right to physical integrity, human dignity, privacy and the right to food. However, similar to the questions of personal status, any dispute relating to monetary compensation associated with those personal rights is arbitrable.
  • Rights of succession. Arbitration over acquired hereditary rights is possible where the value of such rights is determined.
  • Questions of public policy, including all matters considered by law as guaranteeing social, economic or political interests.
  • Questions of insolvency. As provided by Article 490 of the Code of Commerce, state courts have exclusive jurisdiction in insolvency matters.
  • Questions of employment contracts and social security. These issues fall under the exclusive competence of the local Labour Arbitration Court.
  • Contracts for commercial representation. Article 5 of decree law no 34, dated 5 August 1967, provides for the exclusive jurisdiction of Lebanese courts in respect of disputes arising out of commercial representation agreements. However, it should be noted that in recent years the Lebanese courts have adopted a more permissible stance towards the arbitrability of such disputes in specific circumstances.

In domestic arbitration, unless agreed otherwise by the parties, an arbitral award can be subject to appeal (Article 799 LCCP).

The arbitral award can also be subject to the setting-aside action (Article 800 LCCP).

It should be noted that when an arbitration is conducted ex aequo et bono, an arbitral award cannot be appealed before the Court of Cassation unless the Court of Appeal annulled the arbitral award. In this case, the grounds for appeal before the Court of Cassation are limited to the annulment grounds as set out here below.

However, in international arbitration, the appeal is not an available recourse and the arbitral award can only be subject to the setting-aside action (Article 819 LCCP)

In both domestic and international arbitration, the setting-aside action is of public order and cannot be excluded by the parties’ agreement.

The grounds for annulling awards in domestic arbitration are set out under Article 800 LCCP as follows:

  • the award has been rendered without an arbitration agreement or on the basis of an agreement which is null or void due to the expiry of the relevant time limit for rendering the award;
  • the award has been rendered by arbitrators not appointed in accordance with the law;
  • the arbitrators ruled without complying with the mission conferred upon them;
  • the award has been delivered without due respect of rights of defence;
  • the award does not contain the mandatory requirements related to the relief sought by the parties, along with the grounds and means substantiating such relief; the name of the arbitrators; the ratio decidendi of the award, the date of the award and the signature of the arbitrators; and
  • the award has violated a rule of public policy.

The grounds for annulling awards in international arbitration are set out under Article 819 LCCP as follows:

  • the award has been rendered without an arbitration agreement or on the basis of an agreement which is null or void due to the expiry of the relevant time limit for rendering the award;
  • the award has been rendered by arbitrators not appointed in accordance with the law;
  • the arbitrators ruled without complying with the mission conferred upon them;
  • the award has been delivered without due respect of rights of defence; and
  • the award has violated a rule of international public policy.

The recognition and enforcement of an award in Lebanon is made through ex parte proceedings.

The competent court to grant exequatur varies depending on the nature of the dispute. In civil and commercial matters, exequatur requests are filed before the President of the Court of First Instance, either at the place where the award was made if an international award was rendered in Lebanon, or in Beirut if the award was rendered outside Lebanon. In administrative matters, exequatur requests should be filed before the President of the Council of State (Articles 770, 775,793, 795 and 810 LCCP).

The exequatur application must contain the arbitral award and the arbitration agreement or a certified copy of these documents, irrespective of whether the award is domestic or foreign. For international or foreign awards, the judge will principally verify the existence of the award and that recognition of the award does not manifestly violate Lebanese international public policy (Articles 795, 814 and 815 LCCP).

A court decision granting recognition or enforcement of a domestic, foreign or international award rendered in Lebanon is not subject to any recourse (Articles 805 and 819 LCCP).

A court decision denying recognition or enforcement of a domestic award, foreign or international award rendered in Lebanon, is subject to appeal (Articles 806 and 816 LCCP).

The appeal of an award (in domestic arbitrations) or the action for setting aside the award (in both domestic and international arbitrations) de facto entails a challenge to the decision granting exequatur and the judge of exequatur will no longer hear the dispute (Articles 805 and 819 LCCP).

Obeid Law Firm

Stratum Building, Omar Daouk Street
P.O. Box 116/2234
Law Courts Beirut 1109 2020
Beirut
Lebanon

+961 136 37 90

+961 136 37 91

info@obeidlawfirm.com www.obeidlawfirm.com
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Law and Practice

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Obeid Law Firm is a full-service law firm operating across the MENA region from its headquarters in Beirut and its representative office in Paris. OLF is widely acknowledged as one of the leading law firms both in Lebanon and throughout the Middle East. The firm’s expertise, grounded on a strong understanding of the local laws and practice, extends from Lebanon to the wider MENA region and beyond. The firm is regularly sought for advice on legal reforms in various fields across the MENA region and has been at the forefront of drafting model laws on behalf of the Arab League. The breadth of the firm’s capabilities is reflected in the diversity of OLF’s clientele, ranging from foreign governments and public entities, to national and multinational companies, including oil companies, investment funds, financial institutions, telecommunication providers, construction and service companies as well as SMEs. OLF is frequently called upon to provide legal expertise on points of Lebanese and Middle Eastern legislation before international arbitral tribunals and courts around the world.

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