1. Is your state a party to the New York Convention? Are there any noteworthy declarations or reservations?
Egypt consented to joining the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (1958) on 2 February 1959, ratified same on 9 March 1959, and it entered into force as part of the Egyptian legal system on 7 June 1959 without any reservations or declarations.Answer contributed by Mohamed S Abdel Wahab and Noha Khaled
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2. Is your state a party to any other bilateral or multilateral treaties regarding the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards?
Egypt is a party to a number of bilateral and multilateral treaties on arbitration. The most recent treaty is the Egypt-MERCOSUR Preferential Free Trade Agreement, which entered into force in September 2017. It is worth mentioning that, in addition to ratifying the Convention of the Arab League on the Enforcement of Judgments and Arbitral Awards of 1952 (the Arab League Convention) on 28 August 1954, the Washington Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States of 1965 (the ICSID Convention) on 3 May 1972, the Unified Agreement for Investment of Arab Capital in the Arab States (the Arab Investment Agreement) signed on 26 November 1980 in Amman and entered into force on 7 September 1981, the Organisation of the Islamic Conference Investment Agreement of 1981 (the OIC Investment Agreement) on February 1988, the Convention establishing the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (the MIGA Convention) of 1985, and signing the COMESA Investment Agreement on 23 May 2007, the Riyadh Arab Agreement for Judicial Cooperation of 1983 on 2014. Egypt has concluded several bilateral treaties on judicial cooperation that refer to mutual cooperation in the recognition and enforcement of arbitral awards, which by way of illustration include the following treaties: Egypt-Tunisia of 1976, Egypt-Italy of 1978, Egypt-France of 1982, Egypt-Jordan of 1987, Egypt-Morocco of 1989, Egypt-Bahrain 1989, Egypt-Libya of 1993, Egypt-China of 1994, Egypt-Hungary of 1996, Egypt-Syria 1998, Egypt-UAE of 2000, Egypt-Oman of 2002 and Egypt-Kuwait of 2017. Egypt has also concluded a considerable number of bilateral investment treaties (exceeding 100 BITs), these include: the Egypt-France Treaty dated 22 December 1974; the Egypt-Argentina Treaty dated 11 May 1992; the Egypt-Germany Treaty dated 16 June 2005; the Egypt-UK Treaty dated 11 June 1975; the Egypt-USA Treaty dated 11 March 1986; the Egypt-Spain Treaty dated 3 November 1992; the Egypt-Qatar Treaty dated 12 February 1999; the Egypt-Greece Treaty dated 16 July 1993; the Egypt-Bahrain Treaty dated 4 October 1997; the Egypt-Cyprus Treaty dated 21 October 1998, the Egypt-UAE Treaty dated 11 May 1997, the Egypt-Lebanon Treaty dated 16 March 1996, the Egypt-Latvia Treaty dated 24 April 1997, the Egypt-Japan Treaty dated 28 January 1977, the Egypt-Albania Treaty dated 22 May 1993, Egypt-Algeria Treaty dated 29 March 1997, the Egypt-Australia Treaty dated 3 May 2001, the Egypt-Canada Treaty dated 13 November 1996, the Egypt-Croatia Treaty dated 27 October 1997, the Egypt-Austria Treaty dated 12 April 2001, the Egypt-Czech Republic Treaty dated 29 May 1993, the Egypt-Denmark Treaty dated 24 June 1999, the Egypt-Hungary Treaty dated 23 May 1995, the Egypt-Finland Treaty dated 3 March 2004, the Egypt-Italy Treaty dated 2 March 1989, the Egypt-Jordan Treaty dated 8 May 1996, the Egypt-Mali Treaty dated 9 March 1998, the Egypt-Malta Treaty dated 20 February 1999, the Egypt-Morocco Treaty dated 14 May 1997, the Egypt-Netherlands Treaty dated 17 January 1996, the Egypt–Portugal Treaty dated 29 April 1999, the Egypt-Saudi Arabia Treaty dated 13 March 1990, the Egypt-Sweden Treaty dated 15 July 1978, the Egypt-Tunisia Treaty dated 8 December 1989, the Egypt-Yemen Treaty dated 6 June 1996, the China–Egypt Treaty dated 21 April 1994, the Egypt-Kuwait Treaty dated 17 April 2001, the Egypt-Armenia Treaty dated 9 January 1996, the Egypt-Belarus Treaty dated 20 March 1997, the Egypt-BLEU (Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union) Treaty dated 28 February 1999, the Egypt-Bosnia and Herzegovina Treaty dated 11 March 1998, the Egypt-Bulgaria Treaty dated 15 March 1998, the Egypt-Comoros Treaty dated 13 November 1994, the Egypt-Ethiopia Treaty dated 27 July 2006, the Egypt-Iceland Treaty dated 8 January 2008, the Egypt-Kazakhstan Treaty dated 14 February 1993, the Egypt-Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) Treaty dated 19 August 1997, the Egypt-Republic of Korea (South Korea) Treaty dated 18 March 1996, the Egypt-Libya Treaty dated 3 December 1990, the Egypt-Malawi Treaty dated 21 October 1997, the Egypt-Malaysia Treaty dated 14 April 1997, the Egypt-Mongolia Treaty dated 27 April 2004, the Egypt-Palestine Treaty dated 28 April 1998, the Egypt-Oman Treaty dated 25 March 1998, the Egypt-Poland Treaty dated 1 July 1995, the Egypt-Romania Treaty dated 24 November 1994, the Egypt-Russian Federation Treaty dated 23 September 1997, the Egypt-Serbia Treaty dated 24 May 2005, the Egypt-Singapore Treaty dated 15 April 1997, the Egypt-Slovakia Treaty dated 30 April 1997, the Egypt-Slovenia Treaty dated 28 October 1998, the Egypt-Somalia Treaty dated 29 May 1982, the Egypt-Sri Lanka Treaty dated 11 March 1996, the Egypt-Sudan Treaty dated 8 July 2001, the Egypt-Switzerland Treaty dated 7 June 2010, the Egypt-Syria Treaty dated 28 April 1997, the Egypt-Thailand Treaty dated 18 February 2000, the Egypt-Turkey Treaty dated 4 October 1996, the Egypt-Turkmenistan Treaty dated 23 May 1995, the Egypt-Ukraine Treaty dated 21 December 1992, the Egypt-Uzbekistan Treaty dated 16 December 1992, and the Egypt-Vietnam Treaty dated 6 September 1997.Answer contributed by Mohamed S Abdel Wahab and Noha Khaled
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3. Is there an arbitration act or equivalent and, if so, is it based on the UNCITRAL Model Law? Does it apply to all arbitral proceedings with their seat in your jurisdiction?
The Egyptian Arbitration Act No. 27 of 1994 (the Arbitration Act) was inspired by the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration (1985), subject to some amendments. Among the most notable deviations from the Model Law are:
- the applicability of the Arbitration Act to both domestic and international arbitration;
- the possible extra-territorial application of the Arbitration Act to proceedings seated abroad if the parties have agreed to such application;
- the Arbitration Act adopts additional criteria for ascertaining the internationality of an arbitration;
- the Arbitration Act does not explicitly refer to the conclusion of an arbitration agreement through electronic means, but does not expressly exclude such possibility, which remains governed by the applicable Egyptian laws, therefore nothing prohibits the conclusion of arbitration agreements by electronic means and insofar as the electronic communication fulfills the requirement of writing, the arbitration agreement shall be valid;
- in the case of an arbitration agreement that is incorporated by reference, the Arbitration Act requires the reference to be unequivocally explicit to incorporate the arbitration agreement itself;
- the Arbitration Act requires an odd number of arbitrators;
- a preliminary arbitral award on jurisdiction may not, according to the Arbitration Act, be challenged before the competent Egyptian court until a final award is rendered;
- under the Arbitration Act, an arbitral tribunal does not have a default power to order interim relief unless such power is conferred thereon by the parties’ agreement;
- according to the Arbitration Act, if the parties have not agreed on the language of the proceedings, the language shall be Arabic;
- failing any designation by the parties, the arbitral tribunal shall, according to the Arbitration Act, apply the law that it considers to have the closest connection to the dispute;
- the possibility of vacating an arbitral award if the arbitral tribunal has excluded the lex causae chosen by the parties; and
- the Arbitration Act, while acknowledging the prevalence of any international treaties ratified by Egypt, provides for only three conditions on which an exequatur may be refused. These are:
- inconsistency with a prior judgment rendered on the merits by the competent Egyptian court;
- contravention of Egyptian public policy; and
- failure to validly notify the award to a losing party.
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4. What arbitration bodies relevant to international arbitration are based within your jurisdiction? Do such bodies also act as appointing authorities?
The Cairo Regional Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (CRCICA) is an independent non-profit international organisation that administers domestic and international arbitral proceedings. It is a leading regional institution located in Egypt and many arbitrations are administered under its auspices. The CRCICA also acts as an appointing authority and generally adopts the “list procedure” in making its appointments.
In addition to CRCICA, there exist other specialised arbitration bodies such as the Egyptian Settlement and Arbitration Centre for Sports established in 2017 by the Egyptian Olympic Committee and the Egyptian Centre for Voluntary Arbitration and Settlement of Non-Banking Financial Disputes, which is established within the Financial Regulatory Authority by virtue of the Presidential Decree No. 335 of 2019, and its statutes as well as its arbitration and mediation rules were issued on 10 December 2020 by virtue of the Prime Ministerial Decree No. 2597 of 2020.Answer contributed by Mohamed S Abdel Wahab and Noha Khaled
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5. Can foreign arbitral providers operate in your jurisdiction?
Whilst there are currently no branches for foreign arbitral providers in Egypt, they can operate therein by holding hearings and administering proceedings under their respective Rules.Answer contributed by Mohamed S Abdel Wahab and Noha Khaled
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6. Is there a specialist arbitration court? Is the judiciary in your jurisdiction generally familiar with, and supportive of, the law and practice of international arbitration?
There are no specialised arbitration courts per se. However, there are certain specialised circuits within the court structure that normally handle arbitration-related judicial proceedings. In international commercial arbitration, the national court that is empowered to undertake judicial intervention prior to, during, or subsequent to arbitral proceedings is the Cairo Court of Appeal, unless the parties agree on a different Court of Appeal. In any event, Egyptian courts are generally familiar with, and supportive of, the law and practice of international arbitration.
However, it is also worthy of note that the CRCICA has entered into an agreement with the International Court of Arbitration for Sport (ICAS) in 2012, nominating it as a host of an Alternative Hearing Centre (AHC) for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) based in Switzerland. In May 2017, the CRCICA has signed the Belt and Road ArbitrationInitiative Cooperation Agreement with the Beijing Arbitration Commission/Beijing International Arbitration Centre (BAC/BIAC) and the Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre for Arbitration (KLRCA). In December 2017, the CRCICA has also signed a cooperation agreement with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), during the conference celebrating the 50th Anniversary of UNCITRAL: Global Inclusion and Dispute Resolution: Harmonizing Trends in International Arbitration, which enables PCA hearings to take place at the CRCICA premises and vice versa. More recently, in 2019, CRCICA has signed three cooperation agreements, respectively with (1) the Nairobi Centre for International Arbitration (NCIA) in August 2019; (2) the Lagos Court of Arbitration (LCA) in September 2019; and (3) the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) on 30 September 2019. The cooperation agreements with NCIA and LCA involve, inter alia, promoting and developing arbitration techniques through joint capacity building events, cooperation in the achievement of the goals of the African Arbitration Association (AfAA), and that NCIA and LCA shall be alternative hearing centres of the CRCICA in Kenya and Nigeria and vice versa. Similarly, the ADGM Arbitration Centre (ADGMAC) shall be the CRCICA’s alternative hearing centre for its arbitrations and mediations to be conducted in the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, the ADGM can be chosen as the seat of arbitration for cases administered under CRCICA Rules.Answer contributed by Mohamed S Abdel Wahab and Noha Khaled
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