Dispute resolution in Morocco

Bennani & Associés

Bennani & Associés is frequently involved in high-value and high-profile disputes, a recent example beings its work for asset management firm Carlyle Group in seeking to have its rights recognised in the bankruptcy proceedings of the Moroccan refinery 'SAMIR' to reclaim $404m in debts. Lead partner Abdellah Moustaid and managing partner Mehdi Bennani ‘distinguished themselves by having a close relationship with the client, and a clear commitment to solving the matters entrusted to them‘. Senior associate Mahdi Yamnahaddou also plays a key role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Abdellah Moustaid

Other key lawyers:

Mahdi Yamnahaddou; Mehdi Bennani

Testimonials

‘Mehdi Bennani is a very reliable and competent lawyer, he is able to provide clear and outstanding support when required.’

‘The lawyers of Bennani & Associes have an excellent technical level and a very satisfactory treatment with the client.’

‘The lawyers we have dealt with have distinguished themselves by having a close relationship with the client, and a clear commitment to solving the matters entrusted to them. They have shown high professionalism.’

‘Key strength of Bennani & Associés is their deep expertise and the variety of experiences the members have aggregated. On the top of their availability, quick execution, adapted pricing which all reflect the client centricity culture.’

‘All individuals we interact with show the same mindset. Now more specifically the value add at individual level is the demonstrated domain of expertise. And here kudos to Mehdi Bennani and Abdellah Moustaid.’

‘Good quality advice on particular questions of law, without having to go back and forth too much. Mehdi M. Bennani and Abdellah Moustaid.’

‘Top in its region. Honest lawyers with highest integrity. Perfect responsiveness. Extremely hardworking and collaborative. Outstanding command of English.’

‘Mehdi Bennani is a true leader. He makes himself available 24/7. He is of highest integrity.’

Key clients

Samsung Construction & Trading Corporation

Dell Group

Carlyle

Etisalat

Adidas

TUI Fly

Casatram SA (a subsidiary of RATP)

Daewoo Engineering & Construction

Imkan Maroc

ST MICROELECTRONICS SA MOROCCO

Middle East Radio Television Morocco (MRTM)

Pilot Freight Services

Iqvia Maroc

Lanco Maroc

Maphar

Work highlights

  • Successfully representing heavyweight asset management firm the Carlyle Group in seeking to have its rights recognised in the bankruptcy proceedings of the Moroccan refinery ‘SAMIR’ to obtain the payment of $404m debts owed to the client.
  • Representing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Morocco in commercial arbitration proceedings opposite its former distributor, Stokvis Automotive S.A.
  • Acted for Daewoo Engineering & Construction, a leading Korean construction company, in commercial litigations relating to construction of power plants projects in Morocco; recently, this included an enforcement procedure (exequatur) of a judgment rendered in the UK to obtain payment of an amount of £2.455m by BMCE Bank to the client.

Jeantet

The Casablanca office of Jeantet is widely recognised for the expertise of its dispute resolution practice, which handles matters not only in Morocco, but also in the MENA and sub-Saharan Africa regions. Its work consists of corporate and financial litigation, contentious antitrust matters, labour disputes and pre-litigation advice. It handles both civil and criminal proceedings before national courts and arbitration tribunals. The practice, led by Philippe Malléa and local partner Mamoune Kettani, is ‘friendly, competent, gives good advice and is responsive to our requests‘.

Testimonials

‘The difference between Jeantet and the other firms is the people I worked with. They are professional, available and provide very good advice.’

‘The file was mainly handled by Me Mamoune Kettani, who very quickly integrated the various elements of the file. Despite the physical distance and later in 2020 the constraints arising from the Covid measures, the relationship went very well with a good mutual understanding.’

‘The necessary coordination between the different firms involved (Belgium – GD Luxembourg – Morocco) to obtain in Morocco the enforcement of the judgments rendered in Brussels and Luxembourg went perfectly.’

‘The requests of Cabinet Jeantet Maroc in the context of local procedures were clear and well understood by their international colleagues.’

‘In short, the team led by Mamoune Kettani is friendly, competent, gives good advice and is responsive to our requests.’

Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy

The dispute resolution practice at Naciri & Associés Allen & Overy is led by ‘two fantastic lawyers who have a strategic view of matters and are able to steer clients to achieve their objectives‘. Lead partners Hicham Naciri and Yassir Ghorbal make the firm ‘a top choice in Morocco‘. They are supported by counsel Naoufal Achergui in assisting international and major domestic clients with disputes in sectors as diverse as construction, projects, oil and gas, power, water, engineering and professional services, finance and derivative products.

Practice head(s):

Hicham Naciri; Yassir Ghorbal

Other key lawyers:

Naoufal Achergui

Testimonials

‘The practice is led by two fantastic lawyers who have a strategic view of matters and are able to steer clients to achieve their objectives. I have worked with them for years. They are easy to deal with and understand very quickly legal issues that are outside their field of expertise.’

‘A top choice in Morocco.’

Key clients

Le Royaume du Maroc

SOMAS

Ministère de l’Agriculture, de la Pêche Maritime du Développement Durable et des Eaux et Forêts

UPM Holding, MK Holding, ESIAGM, Mr Mohamed Kabbaj

Société Marocaine des Tabacs (SMT)

OCP Innovation Fund for Agriculture (OIFA)

Amethis Finance

Work highlights

  • Advising the Ministère de l’Agriculture, de la Pêche Maritime du Développement Durable et des Eaux et Forêts – Département de la Pêche in connection with the complaint filed by Front Polisario against the Council of the European Union before the General Court of the European Union with respect to the applicability of the Fisheries Agreement, entered into between Morocco and the European Union, in Western Sahara.
  • Aadvising the Ministère de l’Agriculture, de la Pêche Maritime du Développement Durable et des Eaux et Forêts – Département de l’Agriculture in connection with the complaint filed by Front Polisario against the Council of the European Union before the General Court of the European Union with respect to the applicability of the Agriculture Agreement, entered into between the Kingdom of Morocco and the European Union, in Western Sahara.

Afrique Advisors

Afrique Advisors has ‘a relatively small team compared to other law firms, but it is distinguished by cohesion‘. The firm focuses on international commercial arbitration and investor state arbitration. It recently assisted the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Trade with arbitration proceedings introduced by the German company Scholz Holding GmbH concerning its investment in Morocco. Managing partner Laila Slassi is ‘truly impressive‘ and associate Marie-Amélia Marqueshas advanced skills in commercial law‘.

Practice head(s):

Laila Slassi

Other key lawyers:

Marie-Amélia Marques

Testimonials

‘Afrique Advisor is a relatively small team compared to other law firms, it is distinguished by cohesion. The team is very responsive and proactive and provides cut to size services. Multicultural team with a true “family spirit”, luckily one of team member was Portuguese which also helped provide a better service once the job was also involving a Portuguese firm.’

‘Laila Slassi is truly impressive, her qualities includes strategy, negotiation, anticipation and proactivity.’

Associate Marie-Amélia Marques has advanced skills in commercial law.’

Key clients

KINGDOM OF MOROCCO

BROOKSTONE PARTNERS INTERNATIONAL

Work highlights

  • Advising the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Trade for legal assistance in the context of the arbitration proceedings introduced by the German company Scholz Holding GmbH (Scholz) concerning its investment in Morocco.
  • Advising the private equity fund Brookstone Partners International in all litigation matters related to its subsidiaries in Morocco, Platinum Power and Brookstone Partners Morocco.

ADNA

ADNA is a new entity formed by the merger of four firms in North Africa, including BFR & Associés in Morocco. In Casablanca, Yasmina Baddou specialises in disputes before Moroccan commercial, civil, criminal and administrative courts. She has more than 30 years’ experience, including a ten-year stint as a member of the Moroccan government as Minister of Solidarity and family, and Minister of Health. She recently acted for EMID, the MENA distributor for Philip Morris, in a series of high-value business disputes.

Practice head(s):

Yasmina Baddou

Key clients

International Finance Corporation (IFC)

CCCC (China Communication Construction Company)

CRBC (China Road Bridge Corporation

Africa 50

AfricInvest

Proparco

ING Bank

Google

Vantage Data Centers

Ardian

Sunpack

EBRD

DLA Piper

DLA Piper has a strong track record in arbitration, corporate and commercial disputes, employment litigation and contentious industrial property matters. Its work encompasses investment arbitration, construction matters, and the representation of government entities in investment and commercial disputes. Counsel Mehdi Kettani is the key practitioner and his recent work includes cross-border disputes in the pharmaceuticals and consumer goods sectors. Former head of litigation Saad El Mernissi moved to Mernissi – FIGES.

Practice head(s):

Mehdi Kettani

Key clients

NTT DATA

Fraikech Associés

Fraikech Associés represents domestic and international clients in Moroccan courts and in arbitration tribunals. Founding partner Abderrahmane Fraikech is widely regarded as on of the country’s leading litigators, and he is supported by two associates. Together, they recently acted on the Moroccan side of a large-scale transnational litigation matter concerning charges of corporate fraud.

Practice head(s):

Abderrahmane Fraikech

LPA-CGR

LPA-CGR is a leading independent French law firm that has built up a strong dispute resolution practice since opening its Casablanca office in 2009. Acting mainly for Moroccan and foreign companies, institutions and multilateral development banks, as well as public institutions, the team led by Lina Fassi-Fihri and Romain Berthon handles both litigation and arbitration, and works closely with specialists in the firm’s Paris office.

UGGC Africa

UGGC Africa has ‘good knowledge of administrative law and the public procurement code, as well as experience in administrative litigation‘. The firm’s litigation and international arbitration group, led by Ali Bougrine, has more than 15 lawyers who act for Moroccan and international clients in domestic and cross-border disputes. Jean-Jacques Uettwiller, who works in both Paris and Casablanca, and Laurent Sablé also play key roles in the practice. They recently represented a Mauritanian company in partnership with a Chinese company in arbitration concerning the violation of an exclusivity clause.

Practice head(s):

Ali Bougrine

Testimonials

‘Good knowledge of administrative law and the public procurement code, as well as experience in administrative litigation.’

Key clients

CRISTAL FISH

OMNIUM TECHNOLOGIQUE

Bakouchi & Habachi - HB Law Firm LLP

Bakouchi & Habachi – HB Law Firm LLP frequently represents clients in court and administrative proceedings concerning matters such as shareholder agreements, and the criminal or civil responsibility of directors. It has ‘a team with extensive legal expertise, able to adapt to customer issues to provide the most appropriate response‘. Lead partners Salima Bakouchi and Kamal Habachi assisted Société Marocaine des Tabac and its distributor Pipe House with a dispute against Cuban cigar company Habanos.

Practice head(s):

Salima BakouchiKamal Habachi

Testimonials

‘A team with extensive legal expertise, able to adapt to customer issues to provide the most appropriate response.’

‘Qualities appreciated: mastery of legal texts, availability, very good understanding of the challenges and expectations of the client.’

‘Excels at handling challenging matters. HB LAW FIRM has an extremely commercial approach and is always working toward making sure our interests are best protected. The team is hardworking and proactive with a capacity to lead on complex matters.’

‘Salima Bakouchi is excellent in dealing with litigation and negotiation, she is an honest and transparent lawyer, very supportive and responsive, she has a great industry knowledge. I will always recommend their legal services.’

Key clients

ATTIJARIWAFA BANK

BMCE BANK

UMNIA BANK

International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation

ATTIJARI INVEST

ATTIJARI FINANCE CORP

ATTIJARI FACTORING

FINEA

3P FUND

CDG Capital

CDG Capital-Infra

CGI

BLUE MANGO

WAFASALAF

FLUTTERWAVE

WAFA ASSURANCE

ATLANTASANAD

AXA ASSURANCE

AXA PARTNERS

ABENGOA

LISI AEROSPACE

Lesieur Cristal

MARSA MAROC

Société Marocaine des Tabacs

EMAAR MOROCCO

NOVARES

TOTAL MAROC

GIZ

ZIZ MAROC

MICROSOFT CORPORATION

Bassamat & Laraqui

Bassamat & Laraqui has ‘real professionals with a great record of success rate in litigation, who always offer alternatives‘. In arbitration and mediation, banking litigation and the enforcement of court decisions, the firm has a strong market presence, thanks to lead partners Bassamat Fassi-Fihri and Asma Laraqui. As co-founders, both have more than 30 years’ experience at the firm, and their recent work includes acting for Banque Populaire Marrakech Beni Mellal in a MAD2019m claim against a debtor.

Other key lawyers:

Hanane Ait-Addi

Testimonials

‘Excellent quality of work and advice, relevance of the opinions and recommendations given. Quick response time. In-depth expertise in the cases handled. Different specialised lawyers. Young lawyers very receptive and very responsive.’

‘Availability, reactivity and relevance in the processing of files.’

‘Partners’ deep involvement and commitment.’

‘Deep knowledge of arbitration practices and judicial machinery.’

‘The team is very responsive and has a good billing system to follow up on time spent.’

‘Hanane Ait-Addi and Bassamat Fassi-Fihri stand out by their technical ability and knowledge of the Moroccan market and cross-border transactions.’

‘Reliable and efficient with perfect knowledge of the files, responsive and persevering until goal is achieved. Also they come up with different scenarios until finding the proper solution.’

‘Real professionals with a great record of success rate in litigation, who always offer alternatives. They also are proactive which is not the case for other law firms.’

Key clients

Aluminium du Maroc

Amendis (Veolia Group)

Atlas Multiservice

Avis Maroc

Bank of Africa (BMCE)

Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP)

Comptoir Métallurgique

Crédit Agricole du Maroc

Crédit du Maroc

Crédit du Maroc Factoring

Crédit Immobilier et Hotelier

Distra

EPC Group

Fives FCB

Ghosn Ennakhil

Groupe Mafoder

Intelsia

Jacobs Engineering

Locasom (Budget Group)

Maroc Leasing

North Africa Tobacco Company (NATC)

Office Scolaire Universitaire International (OSUI)

Promotion Service Diffusion

RAM Handling

Risma (Accor Group)

Royal Air Maroc

Sefamar

Silver Food

Talem Food Beverage

Valeo Maroc

Wafa Assurance

Wafabail

Wafa Immobilier

Aluminium du Maroc

Amendis (Veolia Group)

Atlas Multiservice

Avis Maroc

Bank of Africa (BMCE)

Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP)

Comptoir Métallurgique

Crédit Agricole du Maroc

Crédit du Maroc

Crédit du Maroc Factoring

Crédit Immobilier et Hotelier

Distra

EPC Group

Fives FCB

Ghosn Ennakhil

Groupe Mafoder

Intelsia

Jacobs Engineering

Locasom (Budget Group)

Maroc Leasing

North Africa Tobacco Company (NATC)

Office Scolaire Universitaire International (OSUI)

Promotion Service Diffusion

RAM Handling

Risma (Accor Group)

Royal Air Maroc

Sefamar

Silver Food

Talem Food Beverage

Valeo Maroc

Wafa Assurance

Wafabail

Wafa Immobilier

Work highlights

  • Advised City Bus Transport on litigation with the Spanish group Alsa.

Benzakour Law Firm

Benzakour Law Firm has acknowledged expertise in a number of niche practice areas, among them merger control, energy, aviation, maritime law and shipping. Litigation is a key element of the firm’s capability and among its key clients are Schlumberger, Radisson, Exim Bank and Safran. Rachid Benzakour is an admitted arbitrator before the Moroccan Court of Arbitration and Abdelaziz Benzakour is a former Moroccan Ombudsman appointed by the King of Morocco.

Key clients

EXIM BANK

RADISSON

SCHLUMBERGER

BOOKING

PHILIP MORRIS

DERICHEBOURG ENVIRONNEMENT

HOWDEN

EUROPEAN BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT (EBRD)

INVESTINDUSTRIAL

SAFRAN

Boulalf Mekkaoui Law Firm

The team is committed to providing excellent services related to dispute resolution‘, says a client of Boulalf & Mekkaoui Law Firm. The firm handles the defence of clients before all Moroccan courts and authorities, and also internationally through a network of foreign partners and correspondents. It is known not only for litigation and arbitration, but also for its use of alternative dispute resolution techniques. Lead partners Abdelatif Boulalf and Ahlam Mekkaoui are ‘really reliable, trustworthy and really honest‘.

Testimonials

‘Good knowledge and long experience.’

‘One of the best firms in Morocco in arbitration. Very good knowledge of arbitration practice in Morocco.’

‘Partners of the firm are really reliable, trustworthy and really honest.’

‘A very good team, helpful and skilled.’

‘Collaboration and reactivity.’

‘Excellent quality of work and advice. Relevance of the opinions and recommendations given. Quick response time. In-depth expertise in the cases handled. Availability.’

‘The team is committed to providing excellent services related to dispute resolution.’

‘Ahlam Mekkaoui has always been extremely polite, swift in responding and assisting in any matter in a professional and very helpful way.’

EAR & CO.

EAR & CO. has a multi-talented team that handles M&A, finance, projects, real estate, tourism, labour law and IP, with litigation an important adjunct to all of those practice areas. Mohieddine El Amari and Mariam Rouissi are the key partners handling complex cross-border litigation. They recently advised Agility Group on a dispute concerning an international agency agreement with a Moroccan business partner, and assisted Axial Facilities with the recovery of MAD4m in debts.

Key clients

ARMA CASABLANCA (Subsidiary of Arma Holding)

AXIAL FACILITIES

AGILITY GROUP

SCI PARANFA SPORTS

Mernissi - FIGES

Mernissi – FIGES handles arbitration in relation to foreign investments, international tenders and, above all, major infrastructure projects in Morocco. Managing partner Lamya El Mernissi and new arrival Saad El Mernissi, who joined from DLA Piper to add in-depth expertise in the energy sector, are the key practitioners. They are currently advising state-owned utility Office National de l’Electricité et de l’Eau Potable on a potential dispute with a major European energy company concerning the construction of a pumped hydro storage plant.

Mokhtari & Brahma Avocats

At Mokhtari Avocats, partner Aïcha Brahma is an approved arbitrator of the Moroccan Court of Arbitration and advises Moroccan and international companies on arbitration and business litigation issues, including emergency procedures, interim measures, disputes between partners, and white-collar crime. Her recent work includes high-value litigation proceedings in the solar energy sector, and a complex arbitration involving a client in the healthcare industry.

Practice head(s):

Aïcha Brahma