Lebanon is a parliamentary democratic republic based on respect for public liberties, especially the freedom of opinion and belief, and respect for social justice and equality of rights and duties among all citizens without discrimination. The constitution guarantees a free economic system, the individual liberty and ensures private initiative and the right of private property, which cannot be expropriated except for public utility reasons and against in the cases established by law and against the payment of a fair compensation.
Lebanon is a founding and active member of the United Nations Organization, the League of Arab States and abides by its pacts and covenants and by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Lebanon is headed by the President of the Republic who is the Head of State and the symbol of the nation's unity. The President is elected by the parliament for a six‐year term.
Its political system is based on the separation of executive, legislative and judicial powers and a system of checks and balances
The Government determines overall policy, appoints senior administrators and submits proposed legislation to Parliament
Parliament, which is elected every four years, proposes and adopts laws and supervises Government policy
Judicial power is fully vested in the courts and is autonomous
The Constitution provides for the formation of a Constitutional Council to rule on the constitutionality of laws and on challenges to the validity of presidential and parliamentary elections
The Executive Power consists of the Council of Ministers (the cabinet) made up of 30 ministers. The President appoints the President of the Council of Ministers following consultations with Parliament.
The Legislative Power consists of a single‐chamber Parliament of 128 members. Members are elected for four‐year term in regional ballots. Parliament may be dissolved by the Council of Ministers, acting by vote of a two‐thirds majority of the ministers, upon request of the President of the Republic only on the basis of specific conditions.
The Judicial system comprises a court system with one administrative court, the State Council Court (Conseil d’Etat) and judicial courts. The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal for civil, commercial, and criminal matters. Constitutional matters and conflicts relating to elections are referred to the Constitutional Council. The judges of the various courts (excluding certain members of the Constitutional Council) are appointed by the Government after favorable recommendation of the Supreme Council of Justice.
The Lebanese judicial system is governed by the following:
The principle of equality granting the right to all Lebanese and foreign persons or legal entities to have recourse to the Lebanese courts
The principle of multi-level jurisdiction: Court of First Instance, Court of Appeals. A supplementary recourse level before the Supreme Court is possible under conditions mentioned in the law
The principle of the separation of the legislative, executive and judicial authorities enabling judges to freely carry out their duties
The possibility of having recourse to arbitration to solve disputes resulting from commercial, civil, and administrative contracts (with the Lebanese State). The last kind of contracts requires certification on the arbitration clause by virtue of a decree issued by the Cabinet according to the proposal of the concerned minister
The democratic political system in Lebanon and the constitutional rights to freedom of speech and belief have nurtured a wide and diversified spectrum of political parties: There are more than 30 parties and political groups in Lebanon reflecting many ethnic backgrounds, political beliefs and freedom of expression.
Lebanon benefits from a robust, clear and transparent legal system, providing investors with a sound and secure basis for their businesses. The legal framework is based on the constitution and on a body of well established laws that guarantee the private ownership of property, the free flow of funds and currencies in and out of the country and the freedom of contract between parties. Lebanese civil law is mostly based on the Code of Obligations and Contracts and the Land Ownership Law.
Lebanon is considered as an arbitration friendly jurisdiction. The Lebanese legislation on arbitration is modern; it recognizes all the principles which are well established in international arbitration.
Lebanon acceded to the 1958 New York Convention on 9 November 1998 and ratified the 1965 Washington Convention on 26 March 2003. Lebanon also ratified on 23 September 1988 the Arab Convention on Commercial Arbitration.
The Lebanese Code of Civil Procedure, which was enacted by Decree Law 90/83, with amendments resulting from Law No. 440 dated 29 July 2002, devotes an entire chapter (chapter 2) to arbitration with a distinction being made between domestic arbitration (articles 762 to 808 CCP) and international arbitration (articles 809 to 821 CCP).
The Lebanese Center for Arbitration was established on May 8, 1995, in affiliation with the Beirut Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture. The center acts as an arbitrator in solving Lebanese and international conflicts related to trade and investment. Its statutes are similar to those of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris.