Legal Environment

flag Tunisia Tunisia: Legal Environment

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


Business Contract

General Observation
You must define precisely the seller's obligations and the methods of quality control.
Law Applicable to the Contract
You must be particularly vigilant about the law applicable to contracts and the methods of conflict resolution. Tunisia is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on International Contracts. The Tunisian legal system is complex. It is not easy for a foreigner to understand Tunisian administrative law, so it is recommended that international laws be used or an arbitration system be called on.
Advisable Incoterms
It is preferable to choose an incoterm FOB or CIF. Avoid EXW if you do not want to have to take care of the transport in Tunisia which can be complicated.
Language of Domestic Contract
In Arabic or in French.
Other Laws Which Can Be Used in Domestic Contracts
If Tunisian law is not used, the law of the other contracting party must be chosen.

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Intellectual Property

National Organisations
The National Institute for Standardization and Industrial Property (INNORPI)
Regional Organisations
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
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
Law N° 2000-84 of 24 August 2000
5, 10, 15 or 50 years on request Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
Law of 23 July 2007
20 years, renewable Trademark Law Treaty
Law N° 12 of 9 February 2001
15 years  
Code of Intellectual Property
70 years after the death of its author for inheritance tax; 50 years after the first publication for registration fees Berne convention For the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms
Rome ConventionFor the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations
WIPO Copyright Treaty
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
Industrial Models
Law N° 2001-21 of 6 February 2001 on the protection of designs and industrial models
20 years  

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Legal Framework of Business

Equity of Judgments

Equal Treatment of Nationals and Foreigners
The Language of Justice
Recourse to an Interpreter
Legal Similarities
Tunisian law is based on the Constitution, laws voted by Parliament, ministerial decrees and orders, and international conventions and treaties ratified by Tunisia. It is largely inspired by French and Islamic law.

The Different Legal Codes

Accounting regulations The Law of 31 December 1996 with decrees on company accounting
Contract and property Law Code of Obligations and Contracts
Customs Law Code of Customs Law
Consumer Law Law on Prices and Law on Competition
Company Law Code of Commercial Law and Code of Taxes
Labor Law Labor Code
Investment Law Code of Incitement to Invest, Commercial code
Checking National Laws Online
Jurisite Tunisie

The Jurisdictions

Tribunal administratif (Administrative Tribunal)
Cours d’Appel Administrative (Administrative Court of Appeal)
Conseil d’Etat (Council of State)
Disputes with the State, the Administration, local administration concerning their decisions
Conseil des Prud’hommes (Industrial Tribunal) Disputes relative to work contracts, disputes between employers and employees
Tribunal de Commerce (Commercial Tribunal)
Cours d’Appel (Court of Appeal)
Cours de Cassation – Section Commerciale (Supreme Court of Appeal - Commercial Section)
Commercial disputes
Tribunal d’Instance (Magistrate's Court) Third party liability and insurance, civil status of persons, real estate
Tribunal de Police (contraventions) (Police Court) (fines)
Tribunal Correctionnel (délits) (Court of summary jurisdiction) (offences)
Cour d’assises (crimes) (Court of Assizes) (crimes)
Cours d’Appel annuaire des juridictions (Court of Appeal directory of jurisdictions)
Cours de Cassation – Section Criminelle (Supreme Court of Appeal - Criminal Section)
Criminal liability (bankruptcy, misappropriation of funds, complicity, etc.)

Court Officials

Avocat (Lawyer/Barrister)
The lawyer's first role is to inform his clients about their rights and obligations. Then he can represent them in court and make a speech for the defense.
Expert Judiciaire (Legal expert)
A judge appoints a duly authorized professional who will review information in order to clarify certain elements of a case.
Huissier de Justice (Bailiff)
He is a legal officer responsible for serving legal process and for enforcing court decisions.
Juge (Judge)
He is the one who decides if the law has been broken or not, as well as the penalties which ensue.
Procureur de la République (State Prosecutor)
He is a magistrate who represents the Prosecution in the county court (Tribunal de Grande Instance).

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International Dispute Resolution

Arbitration is a solution for settling disputes. An arbitrator is called in who has to make the final decision. It is advisable to include in the contracts a clause specifying the jurisdiction in case of dispute.
Arbitration Law
The Center for Conciliation and Arbitration applies Law N°93-42 of 26 April 1993 (Code of Arbitration) largely inspired by the standard law of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).
Conformity to International Commercial Arbitration Rules
Party to the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Party to the Geneva Protocol on Arbitration Clauses.
Party to the Geneva Convention of the Execution of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Appointment of Arbitrators
The Court of Arbitration is composed of an odd number of arbitrators (usually three).
Arbitration Procedure
Any person or company facing a dispute can resort to arbitration only if both parties wish to resort to this procedure. The sentence decided by the arbitrators is non-binding. If the person sentenced refuses to carry it out, the other party will have to resort to a State Tribunal for an exequatur ruling. The person sentenced can refer to the Court of Appeal to request annulment of the sentence.
Permanent Arbitration Bodies
Domestic and International Center for Arbitration (Al-Insaf) (Sectors Covered: All)

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Latest Update: July 2024