Historical Forms of Mediation in Lebanon
Until September 24, 2018, Lebanon did not have a mediation law per se. Historically, however, similar concepts existed by what is known as “Sheikh Solh,” a noble title bestowed onto a reputable person, whose role it was to help parties find a solution for their differences. If the parties failed, the “Sheikh Solh” would provide a binding award, a concept similar to the modern Med-Arb.
After obtaining independence from the Ottoman Empire, Lebanon recognized the concept of settlement and conciliation through its contract and civil procedure law. The modern form of mediation was introduced in Lebanon through the Centre Professionnel de Mediation (CPM) at Saint Joseph University, one of the oldest and reputable universities in Lebanon.
The CPM was established in 2005 as a mediation center and training academy. Its purpose is to promote the concept of mediation in Lebanon and the region. In 2012, another mediation center was established at the Beirut Chamber of Commerce, with the support of the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group.
The Judicial Mediation Law of 2018
On September 24, 2018, The Lebanese Parliament passed the Judicial Mediation Law. This law is set to go into effect six months from the date of publication. The law provides the opportunity for parties in conflict to choose mediation as an alternative dispute resolution. This method requires the agreement of all parties to the conflict. The duration of the mediation is thirty working days, with an option to renew for an additional thirty days upon the approval of all parties. Based on the parties’ agreement, the court may designate a mediation center, if the parties fail to agree on one. The mediation center has to be registered with the Ministry of Justice.
During the six months from the date of the law’s publication and the date the law goes into effect, the Ministry of Justice shall define the criteria for the establishment of the mediation centers. Also during this same period, a list of those accredited centers shall be published.
By Georges Feghali, Senior Fellow-Lebanon, Weinstein International Foundation