Even though Libya has not ratified the New York Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, arbitration awards issued by arbitrators of foreign jurisdictions can be enforced in Libya.
In terms of international conventions, the Riyadh Arab Agreement serves as the main instrument for judicial cooperation in relation to arbitration awards since its adoption by the League of Arab States on April 6, 1983. The fifth chapter of the Riyadh Arab Agreement covers the recognition of judgments ruled for civil, commercial, administrative actions, and includes provisions applicable to arbitration awards and adjudications (article 37 of the Agreement). Following 1983, Libya has entered into several other judicial cooperation agreements with Arab states.
The procedure for enforcement of arbitration awards in Libya is governed by Articles 405 to 408 of the Libyan Civil and Commercial Procedure Law, 1953 ("Civil and Commercial Procedure Law'').
Arbitration awards are only enforceable following the issue of a court order by a court of the first instance granting leave to enforce. Article 405 of the Civil and Commercial Procedure Law provides that the arbitration award may be enforced within Libya if the jurisdiction which issued the award permits the enforcement of a judgment issued by a Libyan tribunal. Most importantly, a Libyan court will enforce a foreign arbitral award under the same conditions required by the jurisdiction from which the arbitration award was issued to enforce a Libyan judgment.
At the time to enforce the award, it is essential to note that under Article 406 of the Civil and Commercial Procedure Law, the respondent must be summoned before the court of the first instance where the plaintiff is seeking to enforce the award.
As per Article 407, four (4) conditions must be met to enforce an arbitration award in Libya: (1) the award must be issued by a competent body of the country in which the award was issued, and the award must be final according to the law of such jurisdiction; (2) parties must have been summoned to appear before the panel, and they must have been represented; (3) the award must not conflict with any judgment previously issued by a Libyan court; and (4) the judgment must not be contrary to the morality and public policy in Libya.
If the aforementioned conditions are met, the Libyan judge shall issue an execution order of the foreign arbitration judgment.
Under Article 408 of the Civil and Commercial Procedure Code, the arbitration award may be enforced in Libya, provided that the judgment is final and can be executed within the jurisdiction in which it is issued.
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