Dr. Zeina Obeid LL.M, PhD, MCIArb is a Partner at Obeid Law Firm in Beirut, where she practices in the Litigation & Arbitration department. She has acted as lead counsel in major international arbitration cases across the MENA region. She also acts as arbitrator and as an administrative secretary in several domestic and international arbitrations, both ad hoc and under international institutional arbitral rules including those of the ICC, DIAC, LCIA, CRCICA, BCDR-AAA, and DIFCLCIA.
She represented clients in civil and commercial proceedings before the Lebanese courts in inter alia leasing, expropriation, commercial agency, insurance, real estate property disputes, notification and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards and actions for setting aside arbitral awards. She also advised international clients and startups on corporate structures in Lebanon and provided general advisory work on issues related to environmental law, anticorruption, data protection & privacy, pharmaceutical products, and franchising.
Zeina holds a PhD from the University Panthéon-Assas (Paris II) in France and an LLM from Columbia University in New York. She also holds a dual Master II in Business Law in the Arab Countries as well as in Arbitration & ADR obtained at the University Paris II and a Masters in Lebanese Law from the Lebanese University.
Zeina is qualified to practice law both in Beirut and Paris. She frequently publishes articles on various topics notably in arbitration. In 2017, she published her book “Setting aside arbitral awards in the Arab Countries”, which has been cited as a reference book for practitioners around the MENA region.
She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb) and member of the International Bar Association (IBA) where she holds the position of Officer in both the IBA Young Lawyer’s Committee (as co-vice chair of the Outreach Committee) and the IBA Anti-Corruption Committee (as Middle Eastern representative).
In line with Lebanon's pro-alternative dispute resolution attitude, a further option in the form of judicial mediation was recently made available to parties through the implementation of Law 82. Judicial mediation offers an alternative mechanism for settling disputes in an efficient, fair, timely and confidential manner and should help to lessen the increasingly overwhelming workload faced by judges.
Due to its status as a commercial hub, Lebanon has its fair share of disputes arising from commercial representation agreements, particularly those concerning compensation for the termination of such agreements. However, while recourse to the court system is well established as the traditional method of settling this type of dispute, significant controversy remains regarding their submission to arbitration.
A series of recent decisions of the Beirut Court of First Instance has affirmed the Lebanese judiciary's liberal approach to arbitration. In each case, the court intervened in an arbitration proceeding to preserve the validity of an arbitration agreement when it had been called into question. Issues considered include invalid terms within arbitration agreements and formal insolvency proceedings involving parties to arbitration.
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 COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of using force majeure to repudiate the performance of burdensome contractual obligations that were undertaken before the pandemic. This article discusses Lebanon's approach with regard to the COVID-19 outbreak and its potential characterisation as a force majeure event by discussing recent developments and the general framework for force majeure under Lebanese law.
In 2017 Parliament passed Law 48 Regulating Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs). The law aims to attract foreign direct investment and bring specific expertise to Lebanon. Further, it institutes a legal framework that is, to a certain extent, in line with international standards and presents no particular red flags. This article analyses the new legal framework for PPPs in Lebanon, the relevant authorities and the law's advantages and limitations and showcases PPP projects which are currently underway.