Consumption Contract Disputes Referable to Arbitration: A Comparative Study in Lebanese and French Laws
Prof. Ahmed Ishraqia
Professor of Private Law
Faculty of Law and Political Science
Lebanese University – Beirut
This research deals with the nature of consumption contracts that bring together a professional and a consumer who does not have sufficient experience and is sometimes driven by his need to comply with the conditions imposed by the seller, and the legal complications that may arise as a result of the imbalance between the parties to such contracts.
Therefore, it was necessary to choose some legal paths to resolve any dispute between the two parties – the professional seller and the consumer – among which is resorting to the judiciary as one of the options adopted by many laws, including the comparative laws that are the focus of this research, namely the French, Lebanese and Kuwaiti laws, where Arbitration is the easiest, fastest, and least expensive option. Through follow-up and comparison, it became clear that the French legislator, through successive amendments to the civil law, was clearer and more supportive of resorting to arbitration, while the Lebanese consumer protection law was ambiguous. On the other hand, the Kuwaiti legislator indirectly referred to the possibility of resolving disputes related to consumption contracts through arbitration.
The research also deals with the objectives envisaged in establishing consumer protection laws, namely limiting the professional seller’s control of imposing conditions on the consumer, which creates a defect in favor of one party to the contract and harms the interests of the other party. It also examines aspects of the foundations governing the arbitration rules that must be adhered to by the parties to the consumption contract and the arbitrator at the same time to achieve the purpose of seeking an arbitrator to resolve the dispute instead of resorting to the courts.
The research concluded with a number of recommendations including the need to work on developing consumer protection laws in the three countries to keep pace with the rapid development of consumer contracts in light of the growing number of electronic contracts and the resulting complications and problems between the seller and the consumer.
Keywords: consumption contract, arbitration contract, arbitration clause, consumer, professional, arbitrary clause.