The Lebanese authorities have managed to survive pressure from the global community to replace the Banking Secrecy Law, although they have enacted new laws and regulations and set up special commissions to combat money laundering, tax evasion and other criminal activities. However, a new challenge has emerged: as of July 2014, financial institutions must comply with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
In Lebanon, the debate surrounding the immunity from execution of arbitral awards granted to international organisations and state bodies recently gained further prominence following a landmark decision of the Lebanese Execution Bureau. The bureau's decision is welcome, as it reflects the arbitration-friendly stance of Lebanese courts and legal doctrine.
Effective and transparent dispute resolution methods are as imperative in Lebanon as they are in any other jurisdiction. The principal instrument governing the enforcement of international arbitral awards in Lebanon is the New York Convention, but both the Code of Civil Procedure and the courts also play a crucial role in protecting the integrity of the arbitral process.
The latest hydrocarbon developments indicate that Lebanon is on its way to becoming a key player in the Middle Eastern oil and gas industry. The nomination of the board of directors of the Petroleum Administration Authority has led to major progress ahead of the launch of the first offshore oil and gas licensing round, while a recently discovered oil reservoir has stirred the optimism of investors.
A number of two-dimensional and three-dimensional seismic surveys suggest that the Lebanon basin has favourable geological prospects and significant potential for hydrocarbon production. The Offshore Petroleum Resources Law seeks to encourage the exploitation of the country's potential offshore resources by providing a regulatory basis for the petroleum sector.
The growing interest in exploring the Lebanese Basin has been stimulated by recent discoveries of massive gas reserves in neighbouring Mediterranean states. Significant deepwater discoveries have encouraged Lebanon to act quickly, passing legislation and commissioning a number of two-dimensional and three-dimensional surveys to determine the potential of the geological prospects.
Careful consideration must be given when selecting a choice of law clause, as the circumstances in which an arbitration agreement can bind a third party differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Under Lebanese law, a third party may find itself bound by an arbitration agreement in a number of cases, including on the basis of its relationship with one of the signatories to the arbitration clause.
Including: International treaties; Legislation; Arbitral bodies and other entities; Interaction with court system; Drafting arbitration agreements; Enforceability of arbitration agreements; Kompetenz-kompetenz; Arbitrability; Consolidation and separability; Third parties; Starting the process; Interim relief; Procedural rules; Awards; State immunity.
Lebanon's patent legislation dates back to 1924. In 2000 new provisions were added in order to bridge legislative gaps. The amendments have expanded the scope of patent protection, increased the term of patents, and defined the rights of the patent holder and the damages that will be awarded in case of infringement.
A law on the merger of insurance companies has had positive effects on an industry which used to be perceived as unreliable and disorganized. As a result of the law, smaller, less efficient insurance companies that struggled to make a profit have been able to survive by merging with larger companies. The industry is now providing higher-quality services and regaining consumer confidence.