TIME BAR UNDER LEBANESE LAW
Limitation periods impose time limits within which a party must bring a claim, or give notice of a claim to another party failing which the claimant may be prevented from bringing his claim against the alleged wrongdoer. If a claim proceeds out of time, the defendant will be able to plead the defense of limitation and the claimant will have the burden of proving that the cause of action arose within the relevant statutory period.
Time Bars in Lebanon are not regulated under a unique law. Time bars are provided for in general under the Code of Obligations and Contracts (the “Civil Code”) as well as under some other specific laws such as the Merchant Shipping Law and the Code of Commerce.
Statutory Time Bars in Claims in General
The time bar applicable to claims in general is 10 years.
However, the Civil Code provides for some special time bars relating to certain types of claims. According to this Code, are extinguished by the expiration of 5 years, the arrears, interests, dividends, house rentals, the benefits payable per annum or at shorter terms, the claims between the partners/shareholders in a company or between the latter and third parties by virtue of obligations issued from the Articles of Association of that company.
Pursuant to the Civil Code terms, are extinguished after the expiration of 2 years:
Statutory Time Bars in Contracts of Carriage
According to article 20.1 of the Hamburg Rules, any action relating to carriage of goods under the Rules Convention is time-barred if judicial or arbitral proceedings have not been instituted within a period of 2 years.
The action for unpaid freight is subject to a 1 year time bar starting from the date of the end of the voyage.
The actions for unpaid crew wages or for works supplied to the vessel are subject to a 1 year time bar starting from the date of performance of the job or work.
Statutory Time Bars in Tortious Claims
The time bar applicable to these claims is generally 10 years from the date of the negligent act or omission.
Statutory Time Bar in Collision Claims
Article 244 of the Merchant Shipping Law stipulates:
“Any action for repair damage caused by the collision shall be time-barred at the expiration of a period of 2 years after the event.”
The recourse of the ship who has settled the third party claim (in case of death or injury) against the other colliding ship shall extinct on the elapse of 1 year starting from the date of payment.
Statutory Time Bars in Claims for Personal Injury
The time bar applicable to this type of claims will vary depending on whether the claim is of civil or criminal nature. A civil recourse for personal injury is subject to a 10 years time bar. The criminal recourse is subject to a 3 years or 10 years time bar depending on the qualification of the act which caused the personal injury (if it qualifies as an offence or a felony).
Statutory Time Bars in Latent Damage Claims
The applicable time bar in latent damage claims resulting from sale purchase agreements of immovable assets is 365 days and 30 days in case of sale purchase agreements of movable assets and animals.
The time bar applicable to the claim against the architect/engineer/contractor of a project is 5 years from the completion of the construction works.
Statutory Time Bars in Customs' Claims
Article 388 of the Customs Law regulates the time-bars applicable to customs’ claims as follows:
Possible Time Bar Interruption
It is to be noted that the time bar period may be interrupted by a judicial claim or “extra-judicial claim bearing a certified date” (such as by serving a notice of payment on the debtor through registered post or court bailiff).
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Summary table of the time bars applicable under Lebanese Law:
|Claim Type||Time Bar|
|Contract Claim|| |
|Contract of Carriage Claim|| |
|Tort Claim|| |
|Personal Injury Claim|| |
|Latent Damage Claim|| |
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