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Litigation

Last verified on Monday 26th June 2017

Lebanon

Nayla Comair-Obeid and Ziad Obeid

    Overview

  1. 1.Court system
    Describe the general organisation of the court system for civil litigation.
    1. The civil courts are in charge of adjudicating civil disputes. They are divided into chambers depending on the nature of the dispute; the division is 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;
      • 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 that deal with lease issues; real estate issues; and bankruptcy matters. There is also a “one judge court” for summary proceedings, and an Enforcement Bureau which is competent in ruling over enforcement proceedings.

      The judicial system in Lebanon which operates exclusively through various courts at all degrees and jurisdictions is independent from the two other branches of power (ie, the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch) as enshrined in the Lebanese Constitution. Judges of all levels of courts are required to be independent and they pronounce judgements and decisions in the name of the Lebanese people.

      There are no federal courts in Lebanon, since Lebanon is a unitary state.

      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.

      The candidate must pass an entry exam followed by a three years training at the Institute for Judiciary studies. Upon graduation, the judges are appointed to offices within judiciary corps by the High Council of Magistrates.

      With respect to the three jurisdiction court hierarchy, each court can reverse the decision of the lower court.

      The French-influenced Lebanese jurisdiction does not use the jury system per se. However, labour disputes, for instance, require the presence of a judge accompanied with a representative of the employees and a representative of the employers and a government commissioner representing the Ministry of Labour.

  2. 2.The legal profession
    Describe the general organisation of the legal profession.
    1. According to article 5 of the Law Organising the Legal Profession (amended by Law No.42, issued on 19/2/1991), a lawyer must be a Lebanese national for at least 10 years, enjoying civil capacity, having a resume that inspires trust and never convicted on the penal and disciplinary levels or dismissed from a public service or a previous profession for a reason that tampers with honour and dignity. He must also hold the Lebanese Baccalaureate. Upon graduation from an accredited Faculty of Law, the candidate should sit and pass the bar exam. Three years of internship in a law firm is required thereafter in order to allow the candidate to sit for a further and final qualifying bar exam. Once the candidate passes this ultimate bar exam, he or she is admitted as a lawyer at the Bar.

      The legal profession in Lebanon is fused, whereby no dichotomy exists between solicitors and barristers.

      A Lebanese lawyer should hold a power of attorney from his or her 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 and the individual concerned can attend by him or herself. On the other hand, a trainee lawyer is not entitled to attend audiences before the courts of appeal and cassation.

      In principle, lawyers practising in Lebanon should be Lebanese nationals, or naturalised individuals for at least 10 years. However, 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 reciprocity condition concerning the Bar the foreign lawyer is member of, and provided such permission is issued on a case-by-case basis. 

  3. 3.General
    Give a brief overview of the political and social background as it relates to civil litigation.
    1. The general attitude is the slow and ultimately costly process.

      As mentioned above, there is a split between the government and the judicial authority. However, the Ministry of Justice is trying to speed the judicial process by requesting Judges to render their decisions in a speedy, not hasty, manner.

      “A committee for the renewal of laws” constituted by Lebanese lawyers is the most important committee to undertake reforms regarding the civil litigation.

      The caseload is very heavy and the Lebanese jurisdiction is extremely litigious.

      There are no typical "professional" or activist plaintiffs.

    Jurisdiction

  4. 4.Jurisdiction and venue
    What are the criteria for determining the jurisdiction and venue of the competent court for a civil matter?
    1. As mentioned above, the nature of the dispute determines the competent chamber of the civil court.

      According to article 86 CCP, “the One Judge court” hears the following:

      • The personal claims and those which are related to moveable or immoveable assets that do not exceed 100 million Lebanese pounds. (The First Degree Court hears the higher amounts). 
      • Claims relating to personal statute except what is relating to nationality; 
      • Applications for certification of successors. 
      • Inheritance applications requests unless accompanied by a request to define the heirs or determining the inheritance shares. 
      • Claims relating lease issues regarding moveable and immoveable assets and the free management contract irrespective of the amount of consideration, and claims relating to occupation works with all accompanying requests and pleas. 
      • Claims relating to possession. 
      • Claims relating to preclusion of irrigation rights. 
      • Claims relating to easement rights.
      • Claims related to the delineation of coordinates or borders of plots.
      • Claims relating to provisional or summary measures.

      All the foregoing is subject to compliance with the competence of the real estate judge.

      The domicile of the defendant (article 97 CCP), the place where a contract has been signed (article 100 CCP), the location of a plot (article 98 CCP), the location of a company’s head office (article 101 CCP), etc, determine the territorial jurisdiction.

      Parties may agree in a contract upon a specific forum, such as Beirut courts; however, the parties cannot elude the competence of the respective chambers as described under answer 11.

      Moreover, the parties may not elude the obligatory territorial competence stated in articles 108–112 CCP:

      • 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 the claims related to accidents insurance fall under the competence of the court that is located within the residence of the insured or within 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.

      The competence of the Lebanese courts toward a foreign party is conditioned by certain rules stipulated mainly in article 78 et seq of the CCP. In particular, Lebanese courts hear lawsuits against Lebanese or foreigners who do not have a residence or registered address in Lebanon or who do not have elected domicile, in the following cases:

      • If the claim is related to an asset situated in Lebanon or to a contract concluded in Lebanon or to a performance in Lebanon of one of the contract’s main obligations.
      • If the object of the request is an interim or conservatory measure occurring in Lebanon. 
      • If the claim object is to deliver the minor to its custodian if the former is in Lebanon or the latter resides in Lebanon. 
      • If the claim is related to the paternity or custody of a minor or the sequestration of the assets of an interdicted person or providing legal assistance thereto, and the minor or the interdicted person is in Lebanon. 
      • If the claim is related to an objection or challenge to a marriage to be concluded in Lebanon. 
  5. 5.Forum shopping
    Does your jurisdiction commonly attract disputes that have a nexus with other jurisdictions?
    1. The Lebanese jurisdiction does not commonly attract disputes that have a nexus with other jurisdictions because of the slow judicial process. However, because of the international nature of certain Lebanese businesses, it is not uncommon for foreign or local parties to seek interim relief and/or or initiate actions in Lebanon in support of wider actions conducted abroad.

  6. 6.Pendency in another forum
    How will a court treat a request to hear a dispute that is already pending before another forum?
    1. This situation is governed by article 56 CCP, under the heading “Procedural Pleas”. Said article provides:

      A court before which a plea of a pending claim before another court is filed shall cease its jurisdiction over the case and refer same to the other court, except where the court before which the case was subsequently filed has rendered a final decision pertaining to one aspect of the dispute […]

      If both courts were of different hierarchy, a plea of a pending claim before the superior court may not be filed […]”

      In all cases, where a plea of a pending claim before a Chamber is filed before a sole judge, the sole judge shall refer the dispute to the Chamber.

  7. 7.

    Deference to arbitration
    How will the courts treat a dispute that is, or could be, subject to an arbitration clause or an agreement to arbitrate, including in interim proceedings?

    1. Article 785 CCP expressly recognises the principle of kompetenz-kompetenz in domestic arbitration. Lebanese courts have extended the application of this principle to international arbitration cases.

      If court proceedings are initiated despite an arbitration agreement, the Lebanese court will declare itself incompetent if the objection on jurisdiction is made prior to the parties engaging in the merits phase, unless the arbitration agreement is manifestly void. The Lebanese arbitration law does not provide time limits for making jurisdictional objections. Should a party wish to object to the competence of the court seized with the dispute, such objection should be made by reference to article 53 CCP prior to engaging in any discussion on the merits of the case. If both parties fully participate in court proceedings despite there being an arbitration agreement in their contract, this would be considered a waiver of their right to arbitrate.

      Lebanese courts remain competent to order provisional or interim measures upon the request of one of the parties unless agreed otherwise. 

  8. 8.Judicial review of arbitral awards on jurisdiction
    May courts in your country review arbitral awards on jurisdiction?
    1. Interim, partial or final arbitral award on jurisdiction are enforceable in Lebanon. As regard the judicial review of partial or interim awards on jurisdiction, this is generally undertaken by the court alongside with the review of the final award in a given matter so as not unduly delay the arbitration proceedings. 

  9. 9.Anti-suit injunctions
    Are anti-suit injunctions available?
    1. Anti-suit injunctions are available in Lebanon. However, the recognition and implementation in Lebanon of foreign anti-suit injunctions is a different matter.

  10. 10.

    Sovereign immunity
    Which entities are immune from being sued in your jurisdiction? In what circumstances? In what circumstances can creditors enforce a court judgment or arbitral award against a sovereign or a state entity?

    1. Pursuant to articles 39 and 40 of the Lebanese Constitution, members of the Parliament enjoy parliamentary immunity from being sued for criminal matters and for opinions expressed during the parliamentary mandate. In addition, no criminal procedure shall be undertaken against him without the permission of the Chamber unless the act was committed in flagrante. Diplomatic missions enjoy an absolute immunity with respect to diplomatic work. Lebanon is a party to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

      As for a foreign state’s immunity, a distinction should be made between the immunity of jurisdiction and the immunity of execution. A foreign state may be sued but at the execution stage, immunity from execution can be raised as a defence. Article 860, paragraph 1, of the CCP stipulates that the assets of the state and public legal bodies cannot be seized. Article 860, paragraph 2, of the CPP stipulates that the assets of foreign states cannot be seized save for those that are subject to private law. In this regard, in a recent decision issued by the President of the Beirut Executive Bureau, the court held that an international organisation acting in its capacity as a private party, in a private transaction, which does not relate to the execution of a public service, cannot avail itself from its immunity of execution (President of the Beirut Executive Bureau, decision dated 18/7/2013).

      Public servants will be subject to criminal prosecution for a crime committed while performing their work if the administration to which they report to provide its authorisation to initiate such action. They nonetheless do not enjoy immunity if the crime was committed outside the scope of their work.

      Concerning lawyers, a special procedure is required in order to sue them by way of a permit granted by the President of the Bar. 

    Procedure

  11. 11.Commencement and conduct of proceedings in general
    How are proceedings commenced? To what extent will a court actively lead the proceedings and to what extent will the court rely on the parties to further the proceedings?
    1. The proceedings commence by filing a lawsuit at the clerk of the relevant court’s office. The defendant and the plaintiff shall then respectively submit their briefs within the time limit stipulated by the law (articles 449–452 and 453 CCP) before the clerk’s office (“deadline for exchanging briefs”). After the expiration of the said deadline, the judge shall appoint the date of the hearing. However, pursuant to article 459 CCP, in matters not exceeding 800,000 Lebanese pounds and for provisional measures, the judge can, immediately after filing the lawsuit, appoint the date of the hearing.

      The judge shall ensure the proper functioning of the trial procedures and is entitled to grant extensions of time and take all measures he deems necessary (article 364 CCP).

      The court shall, at any time of the trial proceedings, verify the legal capacity of the parties to stand trial (and their standing). The court shall also declare itself incompetent if the rules of jurisdiction are not respected.

  12. 12.Statement of claim
    What are the requirements for filing a claim? What is the pleading standard?
    1. The plaintiff should have the required locus standi to file a claim (article 9 CCP). The statement of claim should include the following (article 443 CCP):

      • the name of the court before which the claim is filed;
      • each the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s respective name, profession, residence, and the name of the lawyer, if any;
      • the case’s factual assertions, the reasons, the related evidences and proofs as well as a detailed relief sought;
      • the date of the claim submission, the plaintiff’s signature or its representatives, or the lawyer signature; and
      • the documents attached to the claim. 
  13. 13.Statement of defence
    What are the requirements for answering claims? What is the pleading standard?
    1. The Defendant should submit its Statement of Defence and Counterclaim (if any) by means of a written Statement with documents and evidence attached. There is not specific pleading standard.

  14. 14.Further briefs and submissions
    What are the rules regarding further briefs and submissions?
    1. According to article 365 CCP, the dispute subject matter is specified by the parties’ requests for relief as stated in the statement of claim and the following conclusions. The said requests may be amended by incident requests.

      According to article 31 CCP, the plaintiff may file incidental requests intended to correct the initial request for relief or completing it or amend its subject matter and reason.

      In the same context, article 32 CCP provides that the defendant may file incidental requests, especially a set-off request and a compensation for damage request due to the statement of claim or the trial proceedings.

      It is important to note that the above-mentioned incidental requests should fit the requirements stated in article 30 CCP, which suppose the inherence of the incident requests with the initial relief for request, to be within the jurisdiction of the court adjudicating the initial relief for request and finally not to be within the competence of an arbitral jurisdiction.

  15. 15.Publicity
    To what degree are civil proceedings made public?
    1. The civil courts filings are public. The parties are not anonymised in judgments. According to article 484 CCP, the civil hearings are public unless the court decides willingly, or upon any of the Parties’ request, to keep it private for public order or family privacy purposes; however the judgement is publicly pronounced. TV cameras and photographers are not allowed in court.

    Pretrial settlement and ADR

  16. 16.Advice and settlement proposals
    Will a court render (interim) assessments about any factual or legal issues in dispute? What role and approach do courts typically take regarding settlement? Are there mandatory settlement conferences between the parties at the outset of or during the litigation?
    1. A court can render interim assessments about factual or legal issues in dispute by issuing interlocutory decisions.

      The parties can, at any time of the trial proceedings, conclude a settlement, even partially, and ask the presiding panel or the judge to endorse such settlement (article 461 CCP). There are no mandatory settlement conferences between the parties at the outset of or during the litigation, but the conciliation between the parties is inherent in the judge’s duties (article 375 CCP).

  17. 17.Mediation
    Is referral to mediation or another form of ADR an option, or even mandatory, before or during the litigation?
    1. As stated in the above paragraph, the only mean of ADR is the conciliation made by the judge during the court proceedings (article 375 CCP). The parties are naturally free to include in their contracts or agree thereafter any prerequisite ADR procedure that would have to be followed should a dispute arise.

    Interim relief

  18. 18.Forms of interim relief
    What are the forms of emergency or interim relief?
    1. The presiding 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 emergency or interim relief for the protection of rights and the prevention of harms, such as apposition of seal, setting an assets inventory, order the sequestration and selling of perishable assets. (art 589 CCP).

  19. 19.Obtaining relief
    What must a petitioner show to obtain interim relief?
    1. The petitioner has to show that its rights are in danger and imminent harm that necessitates an interim relief to be taken as a matter of urgency in order to protect its rights.

    Decisions

  20. 20.Types of decisions
    What types of decisions (other than interim relief) may a court render in civil matters?
    1. The court can issue interlocutory decisions such as appointing an expert or order the parties to produce a document. The court also renders a final decision or judgment after the closure of the proceedings. A court order or decision can also be issued on the basis of an ex parte proceeding before the Lebanese courts (articles 594 to 612 CCP).

  21. 21.Timing of decisions
    At what stage of the proceedings may a court render a decision? Are motions to dismiss and summary judgment available?
    1. A court may render its decision upon the termination of the exchanging period for briefs mentioned in question 11. The court may also render its decision when the parties declare that they have no new assertions and pleadings to submit and request the court to render a judgment.

      Motions to dismiss are available in Lebanese law, at a preliminary stage of the case, upon a party’s request to a court to dismiss a case on one of several exhaustive list of grounds, including lack of jurisdiction over subject matter, lack of judicial delays and lack of quality and interest in the person of the plaintiff, res judicata, etc (articles 52 to 68 CCP).

      Summary judgments are also available (see question 37).

  22. 22.Default judgment
    Under which circumstances will a default judgment be rendered?
    1. A default judgment is rendered when one of the parties fails to respond to the other party’s brief(s) and to present a defence to the claims made.

      According to article 468 CCP para 2, if the defendant fails to appear before the court at the first audience without a reasonable excuse, although duly notified, the court may render a judgment upon the plaintiff’s request.

      In the same logic, and according to article 466 CCP, if the plaintiff fails to appear before the court without a reasonable excuse, although duly notified, the defendant may ask the court either to write off the case or to render a judgment.

  23. 23.Duration of proceedings
    How long does it typically take a court of first instance to render a decision?
    1. It usually takes about one or two years but it depends on the number of the parties and other procedural circumstances.

    Parties

  24. 24.Third parties – joinder, third-party notice, intervenors
    How can third parties become involved in proceedings?
    1. 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.

      In the same context, article 38 CCP provides that any party in the trial may request the joinder of a third party to be involved in hearing the verdict, or to condemn it with inherence requests to those raised by any of the parties, or for warranty purpose.

      On the other hand, the failure to join a particular party does not preclude a litigant third party from bringing the same or similar claims against that party.

      As for the query if a party can involve other persons to the effect that the decision will be binding without them becoming a party, this is not sanctioned under Lebanese Law. Judicial decisions bind exclusively the parties and are extended to their successors (article 556 CCP).

    Evidence

  25. 25.Taking and adducing evidence
    Will a court take or initiate the taking of evidence or will it rely on the parties to request the taking of evidence and to present it?
    1. According to article 132 CCP, the taking of evidence relies on the claimant of a fact. Each party in the trial is requested to assert at once all proofs it is prevailing itself of (article 133 CCP). The plaintiff is normally charged with the burden of proof, but the defendant can be required to establish certain defences.

      The court, on the other hand, may order an investigation to complement the parties’ presented proofs (article 135 CCP).

  26. 26.Disclosure
    Is an opponent obliged to produce evidence that is harmful to it in the proceedings? Is there a document disclosure procedure in place? What are the consequences if evidence is not produced by a party?
    1. According to article 203 CCP, a party may request the opponent to produce any productive document 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 both parties or evidencing their mutual rights and obligations.
      • If the opponent relied on the document at any time of the proceedings.

      According to article 205 CCP, if a party evidences its above request or the opponent avows that the document is in its possession or keeps silence, the court shall order the document to be produced immediately or within a certain time limit.

      However, in case the opponent denied and the requesting party has not submitted sufficient proof of its request allegations, the above opponent should assert under oath that the disputed document does not exist or is not aware of its existence or its place and that it did not hide it or that it was negligent in searching for it.

  27. 27.

    Witnesses of fact
    Please describe the key characteristics of witness evidence in your jurisdiction. Is witness preparation allowed?

    1. The judge has the power to assess the value of the witness testimony pursuant to article 295 of the Lebanese Civil Procedure Code.

      Article 257 CCP regulates the cases in which the witness evidence is accepted:

      • in commercial matters;
      • in material acts;
      • in case of prima facie evidence in writing;
      • if it is impossible for the creditor to have a written evidence;
      • if it is proved that the written document was lost by an act of a third party or intervening act over which the party has no control; or
      • if a fraud is proved in order to conclude a contract contrary to the public order or to an obligatory text.

      Article 256 CCP states that if the claim includes several requests arising from different sources, the witness evidence is accepted in each request not exceeding 500,000 Lebanese pounds, even if the total amount of the above requests exceeds the said sum and even if they arise from dealings between the parties themselves or relate to acts having the same nature.

      According to article 254 CCP, the witness evidence is not accepted:

      • as a proof of contracts which amount is not determined or exceeds 500,000 Lebanese pounds; and
      • as proof of what is contrary to a written instrument or what exceeds the latter content.

      Article 259 CCP defines the persons who are not allowed to be witnesses:

      • individuals under 15 years old;
      • insane persons; and
      • individuals who were condemned by penal judgments whose effect stripped them of their capacity to testify.

      In the same context, article 260 CCP states the following:

      Witness testimony is not accepted between ascendants and descendants, and between husband and wife even after the marriage dissolution. The witness evidence is also not accepted by the domestic servants to their employer nor the testimony of an agent to its client nor the testimony of a shareholder concerning the company nor the guarantor concerning the guaranteed beneficiary’s obligations.

      According to article 263 CCP, public sector employees or civil servants are forbidden, even after their leave, to testify on private matters that were not open to the public, unless the court issues a special permit in this respect.

      Article 264 CCP forbids the attorneys, the agents, the doctors and others to divulge information they were privy to by reason of their profession. 

      Finally, witness preparation is not allowed in Lebanon. Article 81 of the law organising the legal profession, expressly prohibits a lawyer to prepare, listen or contact a witness prior to his or her appearance at the court.

  28. 28.Expert witnesses
    Who appoints expert witnesses? What is the role of experts?
    1. According to article 313 CCP, the court designates an expert to perform an expertise or to submit a technical advice or to undertake a technical investigation for a special matter.

      A summary judge is also entitled to appoint expert witness. Depending on the particulars of the case, there is nothing preventing a party from submitting expert reports / opinions, which would be treated as documentary evidence in the file.

  29. 29.Party witnesses
    Can parties to proceedings (or a party’s directors and officers in the case of a legal person) act as witnesses? Can the court draw negative inferences from a party’s failure to testify or act as a witness?
    1. Parties to proceedings cannot act as witnesses.

      As for the legal person, and as stated above, the witness evidence is not accepted by a shareholder or a representative concerning company’s matters.

      Since a party at the proceedings cannot act as a witness, the court cannot draw negative inferences. However, a third-party witness who fails to attend is subject to a penalty. The court may call the witness a second time and in case he or she insists on not attending the hearing, her or she will be subject to an additional penalty. Moreover, the court can subpoena the witness and compel him or her to testify by the police (article 279 CCP).

  30. 30.Foreign law and documentation
    How is foreign law or foreign-language documentation introduced into the proceedings and considered by the courts?
    1. In matters of contracts, the parties can stipulate in a clause that the Lebanese courts are competent and the applicable law is the foreign law, provided the existence of a foreign element, such as the location of a plot or the nationality of one of the parties, etc. Furthermore, in matters of civil marriage concluded outside Lebanon between Lebanese, Lebanese courts are competent to determine issues arising from divorce according to the law of the country where the marriage was held.

      Any foreign-language document may be introduced into the proceedings before Lebanese courts provided said document is translated into Arabic by a certified translator.

  31. 31.Standard of proof
    What standard of proof applies in civil litigation? Are there different standards for different issues?
    1. The written evidence, avow and oath come in the first level. The prima facie evidence in writing comes next and is complemented / supplemented by testimony and presumptions.

    Appeals

  32. 32.Options for appeal
    What are the possibilities to appeal a judicial decision? How many levels of appeal are there?
    1. Article 639 CCP provides that all decisions issued by the Court of First Instance “One Judge Court” can be subject to appeal save for those that are excluded by the law. According to article 640 CCP, the decisions adjudicating a dispute of an amount not exceeding 3 million Lebanese pounds cannot be subject to appeal. On the other hand, the decisions issued by the Council of Arbitral Labour are not subject to appeal but only to cassation.

  33. 33.

    Standard of review
    What aspects of a lower court's decisions will an appeals court review and by what standards?

    1. 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 a flawed decision or annulment of the substantial proceedings the decision relied on;
      • contradiction in the decision which make its execution impossible;
      • lack of adjudication of one or more requests made by the parties; or
      • adjudication of a matter that was not raised in the proceedings or a matter which exceeded the parties’ requests.
  34. 34.Duration of appellate proceedings
    How long does it usually take to obtain an appellate decision?
    1. Around two to three years, but it depends on the number of the parties and other circumstances.

    Special proceedings

  35. 35.Class actions
    Are class actions available?
    1. Class actions are not available in Lebanese Law.

  36. 36.Derivative actions
    Are derivative actions available?
    1. Derivative actions are regulated by article 168 and article 167 para 1 of the Code of Commerce:

      According to article 167 para 1, the board members of a company are liable towards the shareholders for their mismanagement.

      While article 168 states that the company has the right to sue the board members on the basis of article 167 para 1, if the company fails to raise such claim, every shareholder has the right to sue the board members on behalf of the company.

  37. 37.Fast-track proceedings
    Are fast-track proceedings available?
    1. The Lebanese Code of Civil Procedure provides under Chapter 11 bis, titled “Summary Proceedings”, that the lawsuits stipulated in paragraph 1 of article 86 CCP are submitted to the fast-track proceedings; namely, personal claims and the claims relating to a moveable or immoveable asset, not exceeding 100 million Lebanese pounds. The defendant shall submit its reply within a week of its notification of the claim by the plaintiff. The judge shall issue its decision in a period not exceeding two weeks from the date the defendant submitted its reply.

  38. 38.Foreign-language proceedings
    Is it possible to conduct proceedings in a foreign language?
    1. It is not possible to conduct proceedings in a foreign language. The Arabic language is the official language of the state, and accordingly, is the language adopted in court proceedings.

    Effects of judgement and enforcement

  39. 39.Effects of a judgment
    What legal effects does a judgment have?
    1. Article 556 CCP states that the final judgment has, upon its issuance, the authority of res judicata and is directly enforced. Only the parties thereto, and to a certain extent, their successors, are bound by the judgment.

  40. 40.Enforcement procedure
    What are the procedures and options for enforcing a domestic judgment?
    1. The Enforcement Bureau is the competent entity through which a domestic judgment is enforced (article 828 CCP). A domestic judgment cannot be enforceable unless it has the force of res judicata (article 836 CCP).

      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, his or her 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 CCP)).

  41. 41.Enforcement of foreign judgments
    Under what circumstances will a foreign judgment be enforced in your jurisdiction?
    1. Foreign judgments are recognised in Lebanon via an exequatur request which is an ex parte procedure. Article 1014 of the LCPC provides that exequatur is granted to a foreign judgment that satisfies the following conditions:

      a) 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.

      b) 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.

      c) 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 him or her.

      d) 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.

      e) The judgment does not violate public policy.

    Costs

  42. 42.Costs
    Will the successful party’s costs be borne by the opponent?
    1. 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.

  43. 43.Legal aid
    May a party apply for legal aid to finance court proceedings? What other options are available for parties who may not be able to afford litigation?
    1. According to article 425 CCP, any party may ask for “judicial assistance” if it cannot afford the trial fees and expenses.

  44. 44.Contingency fees
    Are contingency fee arrangements permissible? Are they commonly used?
    1. The contingency fees are in principle acceptable up to a certain percentage on the amount recovered should the action be successful.

  45. 45.Third-party funding
    Is third-party funding allowed in your jurisdiction?
    1. The law does not address this issue.

  46. 46.Fee scales
    Are there fee scales lawyers must follow? Are there upper or lower limits for fees charged by lawyers in your jurisdiction?
    1. 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, said scale is not mandatory for lawyers, and is usually referred to as a guideline.

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GAR know-how provides reliable cross-jurisdictional insight to help cement the building blocks of international practice. In this section, select experienced practitioners answer commonly asked questions for key jurisdictions so allowing readers to be better-placed to solve the challenges of their working days.

Questions

    Overview

  1. 1.Court system
    Describe the general organisation of the court system for civil litigation.
  2. 2.The legal profession
    Describe the general organisation of the legal profession.
  3. 3.General
    Give a brief overview of the political and social background as it relates to civil litigation.
  4. Jurisdiction

  5. 4.Jurisdiction and venue
    What are the criteria for determining the jurisdiction and venue of the competent court for a civil matter?
  6. 5.Forum shopping
    Does your jurisdiction commonly attract disputes that have a nexus with other jurisdictions?
  7. 6.Pendency in another forum
    How will a court treat a request to hear a dispute that is already pending before another forum?
  8. 7.

    Deference to arbitration
    How will the courts treat a dispute that is, or could be, subject to an arbitration clause or an agreement to arbitrate, including in interim proceedings?


  9. 8.Judicial review of arbitral awards on jurisdiction
    May courts in your country review arbitral awards on jurisdiction?
  10. 9.Anti-suit injunctions
    Are anti-suit injunctions available?
  11. 10.

    Sovereign immunity
    Which entities are immune from being sued in your jurisdiction? In what circumstances? In what circumstances can creditors enforce a court judgment or arbitral award against a sovereign or a state entity?


  12. Procedure

  13. 11.Commencement and conduct of proceedings in general
    How are proceedings commenced? To what extent will a court actively lead the proceedings and to what extent will the court rely on the parties to further the proceedings?
  14. 12.Statement of claim
    What are the requirements for filing a claim? What is the pleading standard?
  15. 13.Statement of defence
    What are the requirements for answering claims? What is the pleading standard?
  16. 14.Further briefs and submissions
    What are the rules regarding further briefs and submissions?
  17. 15.Publicity
    To what degree are civil proceedings made public?
  18. Pretrial settlement and ADR

  19. 16.Advice and settlement proposals
    Will a court render (interim) assessments about any factual or legal issues in dispute? What role and approach do courts typically take regarding settlement? Are there mandatory settlement conferences between the parties at the outset of or during the litigation?
  20. 17.Mediation
    Is referral to mediation or another form of ADR an option, or even mandatory, before or during the litigation?
  21. Interim relief

  22. 18.Forms of interim relief
    What are the forms of emergency or interim relief?
  23. 19.Obtaining relief
    What must a petitioner show to obtain interim relief?
  24. Decisions

  25. 20.Types of decisions
    What types of decisions (other than interim relief) may a court render in civil matters?
  26. 21.Timing of decisions
    At what stage of the proceedings may a court render a decision? Are motions to dismiss and summary judgment available?
  27. 22.Default judgment
    Under which circumstances will a default judgment be rendered?
  28. 23.Duration of proceedings
    How long does it typically take a court of first instance to render a decision?
  29. Parties

  30. 24.Third parties – joinder, third-party notice, intervenors
    How can third parties become involved in proceedings?
  31. Evidence

  32. 25.Taking and adducing evidence
    Will a court take or initiate the taking of evidence or will it rely on the parties to request the taking of evidence and to present it?
  33. 26.Disclosure
    Is an opponent obliged to produce evidence that is harmful to it in the proceedings? Is there a document disclosure procedure in place? What are the consequences if evidence is not produced by a party?
  34. 27.

    Witnesses of fact
    Please describe the key characteristics of witness evidence in your jurisdiction. Is witness preparation allowed?


  35. 28.Expert witnesses
    Who appoints expert witnesses? What is the role of experts?
  36. 29.Party witnesses
    Can parties to proceedings (or a party’s directors and officers in the case of a legal person) act as witnesses? Can the court draw negative inferences from a party’s failure to testify or act as a witness?
  37. 30.Foreign law and documentation
    How is foreign law or foreign-language documentation introduced into the proceedings and considered by the courts?
  38. 31.Standard of proof
    What standard of proof applies in civil litigation? Are there different standards for different issues?
  39. Appeals

  40. 32.Options for appeal
    What are the possibilities to appeal a judicial decision? How many levels of appeal are there?
  41. 33.

    Standard of review
    What aspects of a lower court's decisions will an appeals court review and by what standards?


  42. 34.Duration of appellate proceedings
    How long does it usually take to obtain an appellate decision?
  43. Special proceedings

  44. 35.Class actions
    Are class actions available?
  45. 36.Derivative actions
    Are derivative actions available?
  46. 37.Fast-track proceedings
    Are fast-track proceedings available?
  47. 38.Foreign-language proceedings
    Is it possible to conduct proceedings in a foreign language?
  48. Effects of judgement and enforcement

  49. 39.Effects of a judgment
    What legal effects does a judgment have?
  50. 40.Enforcement procedure
    What are the procedures and options for enforcing a domestic judgment?
  51. 41.Enforcement of foreign judgments
    Under what circumstances will a foreign judgment be enforced in your jurisdiction?
  52. Costs

  53. 42.Costs
    Will the successful party’s costs be borne by the opponent?
  54. 43.Legal aid
    May a party apply for legal aid to finance court proceedings? What other options are available for parties who may not be able to afford litigation?
  55. 44.Contingency fees
    Are contingency fee arrangements permissible? Are they commonly used?
  56. 45.Third-party funding
    Is third-party funding allowed in your jurisdiction?
  57. 46.Fee scales
    Are there fee scales lawyers must follow? Are there upper or lower limits for fees charged by lawyers in your jurisdiction?