Legal Environment

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In this page: Business Contract | Intellectual Property | Legal Framework of Business | International Dispute Resolution


Business Contract

General Observation
Law and practises are generally in favour of the Lebanese agents. It is thus necessary to be all eyes during the signature of a contract: specify terms of payment, sign a new contract every year and, if needed, call a lawyer.
Law Applicable to the Contract
Code of Civil Procedure.
Advisable Incoterms
It is preferable to choose an intercom FOB or CIF. Avoid the EXW if you do not want to be concerned with transport on the lebanese territory which can be complicated.
Language of Domestic Contract
French, Arab and English.
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
Any law can be applicable. To mention when the contract is written.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
National Office for the Protection of Intellectual Property.
Regional Organisations
Arab Society for Intellectual Property
International Membership
Member of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Signatory to the Paris Convention For the Protection of Intellectual Property

National Regulation and International Agreements

Type of property and law Validity International Agreements Signed
Patent Law n° 240 of 2000
20 years from the date of payment of registration fee.
Law of 1924 amended in 1946
15 years renewable indefinitely
Law n°4 on patents, designs and industrial models of 15 May 2005
25 years renewable one time for 25 years.  
Law on copyright 1999
Up to 50 years after the author's death Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
Industrial Models
Law n°4 on patents, designs and industrial models of 15 May 2005
25 years renewable one time for 25 years.  

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
Equal treatment by the judicial institutions between Lebanese and foreigners.
The Language of Justice
The judicial language in the country is Arabic.
Recourse to an Interpreter
It is possible to have recourse to an interpreter.
Legal Similarities
The main source of the law in the country is the constitution of 1926 (amended many times, most recently through the Tariff Agreement). The legal system is a mix of Ottoman law, Napoleonic code and civil law. Lebanon has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

The Different Legal Codes

Labour Law Regulations in empoyment contracts
Constitution Legal framework
Checking National Laws Online
Site of the Bank of Lebanon (laws concerning the banking sector)
Other Useful Resources
Ministry of Justice, Available in Arab only (French and English version under construction)
Country Guides
Info-Prod Research Middle East, Guide on lebanese rights

The Jurisdictions

Constitutional Council Respect of the Constitution
Ministry of Justice For more information on various jurisdictions

Court Officials

A lawyer's duty is to inform his clients about their rights and obligations. He can also represent his client in court with a plea.
He decides whether there has been malpractice or not and the resulting penalties.

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International Dispute Resolution

The Lebanese Centre of Arbitration was established on may the 8th,1995 in narrow connection with the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture. Cases in Lebanese courts are not settled rapidly because of archaic procedures, a shortage of judges, inadequate support structures, and a traditional slowness in the handling of cases.
Lebanese generally prefer amicable settlements to avoid damaging business. Lebanese jurists are still reluctant to the use of arbitration which remains underestimated in the country. However if a party asks for the resolution of a dispute, a court will be formed and deliberate while respecting the Lebanese Civil Code of Conduct.
Consult the various steps of arbitration on Worldwide Legal Directories.
Arbitration Law
International arbitration is accepted as a means for settling investment disputes between private parties. In 2006 Lebanon signed a Dispute Settlement Protocol with the European Union allowing settlement before going to court via mediation.
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Appointment of Arbitrators
Arbitrators are summoned by odd numbers.
For information on arbitration procedures consult the Global Arbitration Review.
Arbitration Procedure
Consult the different steps of arbitration on Worldwide Legal Directories.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
The Lebanese Arbitration Center (Sectors Covered: All sectors)

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Latest Update: March 2024