Nesrine Roudane on Morocco’s Arbitration Landscape

In this exclusive interview, LegalcommunityMENA focuses on the dynamic world of international arbitration and legal reforms with Nesrine Roudane, Partner and Head of the Casablanca office at Al Tamimi & Company. With a rich background as Managing Partner at Roudane & Partners and a distinguished career in business law, Roudane brings a wealth of experience to the table.  

Join us as we explore the intricacies of Morocco’s recent legal developments, the impact of the new Arbitration Code, and Roudane’s insights into positioning Morocco as a key player in the global economy. 

Morocco has a rich history of promoting arbitration. Can you provide insights into the country’s journey in international arbitration and its recent legislative developments? 

Morocco’s commitment to international arbitration dates back to 1959 when it joined the New York Convention, followed by ratification of the ICSID Convention in 1967. Fast forward to 13 June 2022, the country published the Dahir n° 1-22-34, promulgating Law n° 95-17 on Arbitration and Conventional Mediation, marking a significant reform project initiated in 2017. 

Could you highlight the key features of the new Arbitration Code and its impact on Morocco’s standing in international arbitration? 

Certainly. The new Arbitration Code, structured into three titles, focuses on arbitration, conventional mediation, and final/transitory provisions. Title I, which pertains to domestic and international arbitration, is particularly noteworthy. It came into effect on 14 June 2022, replacing the relevant provisions in the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP). Importantly, the new Code does not apply retroactively, maintaining continuity for agreements and claims predating its enactment. 

What are the notable changes introduced by the new Arbitration Code, and how do they contribute to enhancing the arbitration landscape in Morocco? 

The Code introduces substantial changes. Notably, it removes the requirement for arbitrators’ names in arbitration clauses, emphasizing the need for a clear written indication. E-mails are now accepted as evidence, subject to e-signature laws. The use of technology is promoted, although limited to national authentication systems for e-signatures. Simplifications in binding public entities, an inclusive definition of international arbitration, extended filing times for arbitral awards, and enhanced court procedures for recognition and enforcement orders further signify Morocco’s commitment to modernizing and aligning with global arbitration standards. 

How does the new Arbitration Code position Morocco as a hub for both domestic and international arbitration proceedings? 

The Code’s inclusive definition of international arbitration, encompassing proceedings involving the “interests of international trade” with at least one party domiciled abroad, broadens Morocco’s appeal. Simultaneously, simplified processes for public entities and extended filing times contribute to making Morocco an attractive seat for arbitration. These changes align with the country’s broader strategy of becoming a financial center and a regional hub for international arbitration. 

In conclusion, how do these legal reforms, including the new Arbitration Code, reflect Morocco’s broader ambitions in the global economy? 

Morocco’s commitment to creating a business-friendly environment is evident in these legal reforms. The new Arbitration Code, coupled with recent initiatives like the Model BIT and Investment Charter, underscores the country’s ambition to be a key player in the African and global economy. These measures reinforce Morocco’s status as an arbitration-friendly and investment-attractive destination, signalling its dedication to fostering economic growth and securing a prominent position on the world stage. 

About Nesrine Roudane 

Nesrine, Partner and Head of the Casablanca office at Al Tamimi & Company since 2022, previously served as Managing Partner at Roudane & Partners, a firm she founded in 2008. With a background as an associate at a major Moroccan/French international law firm, Nesrine specializes in business law.  

As a Casablanca Bar lawyer, she advises and represents Moroccan and foreign entities in diverse legal matters, offering extensive expertise in civil, commercial, and criminal litigation. She is also recognized for her role as an arbitrator and commercial mediator accredited by various institutions, including the Casablanca Court of Appeals and WIPO. 

Throughout her career, Nesrine has actively contributed to the resolution of international commercial disputes and conducted mediation procedures, all while dedicating herself to educating corporate leaders on Moroccan legal compliance. She is also President of the Startup and Venture Capital Commission at the International Union of Lawyers (UIA).