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Royal Activities
Monday 21 October 2019

HM the king Sends Message to Participants in Second International Conference on Justice

HM the king Sends Message to Participants in Second International Conference on Justice

HM king Mohammed VI sent a message to participants in the second international Conference on justice, which kicked off on Monday in Marrakech, under the theme "Justice and Investment: the Challenges and the Stakes".

Here follows the full text of the royal Message, read out by minister of State for Human Rights and Relations with Parliament, Mustapha Ramid:

"Praise be to God,

May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Honorable Ministers,

Your Excellencies,

Distinguished Presidents of Higher Councils of the Judiciary and General Prosecutors,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to send you this message at the opening of the Second International Conference on Justice, which is being held under my patronage. The conference offers this distinguished international gathering an opportunity to exchange ideas and experiences and to launch further partnerships in order to develop the justice system, enhance its standing and increase its efficiency and effectiveness.

I welcome our distinguished guests to the Kingdom of Morocco and wish to commend the organizers of this conference on their choice of theme: Justice and Investment: the Challenges and the Stakes. This choice reflects their awareness not only of the importance of investment as a key driver of development, but also of the crucial role justice can play in promoting economic growth through the consolidation of the rule of law and the guarantee of legal and judicial security.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On many occasions, I have emphasized the need to develop a strategic vision for the improvement of the business environment. A core element of that vision should be the creation of conditions conducive to investment and the adoption of a modern, integrated legal system that makes businesses a driving force of economic and social development.

To this end, I have given my instructions to speed up the promulgation of the new investment charter, and to reform regional investment centres, giving them the necessary powers to enable them to carry out their mission in full. I have also asked that the hurdles preventing these centres from playing their assigned role be removed.

I have also stressed, on a number of occasions, the need to simplify investment procedures, update business support programs, facilitate businesses' access to finance, increase their productivity and train their human resources.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Justice is one of the key sectors that help improve the investment environment, promote free enterprise and protect entrepreneurship. As for the judiciary, it should play a crucial part in that process and take due account of the challenges created by current global economic conditions and the domestic economic environment.

In light of the above, the Kingdom of Morocco has adopted a set of modern, structural legal texts designed to help develop the financial and business system, promote investment, boost economic activity and support national companies, making them a driving force of economic development.

It should be pointed out, in this regard, that some important texts have recently been adopted, such as the amendment of the code of commerce, the corporate law and movable property security rights. Moreover, an approach has been adopted to involve judges - other than in their classical role - in matters with an economic and social dimension. The aim is to ensure corporate security and social peace by striking the right balance between workers’ rights and those of employers.

This has contributed to enhancing Morocco's standing as a trustworthy and credible country in the eyes of foreign investors as well as in economic and financial circles.

The importance of the preliminary rulings made by the Moroccan judiciary in this regard - especially by the 'Court of Cassation’ - needs to be underscored. These decisions have sought to uphold the credibility, sustainability and flexibility of foreign arbitration decisions and have provided legal protection for patents and copyright.

Given the legislative reforms introduced and the dynamic they have set off, I urge the government to expedite the adoption of the related legal texts and to prepare the regulatory texts for the laws that have been ratified.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Creating the right conditions for investment requires not only the overhaul of incentive legislation, but also the provision of legal and economic guarantees that ensure confidence in the judicial system and provide full security for investors. It is therefore important to standardize mechanisms and procedures for the settlement of investment disputes at the national, regional and international levels. It is just as necessary to resolve national judicial competence issues in this regard through the establishment of an appropriate legal system that helps avoid problems and reduce disputes, and to set up specialized bodies for the settlement of disputes within a reasonable timeframe. These institutions should take into account the particularities of financial and commercial disputes and be swift, efficient and flexible when dealing with them.

In this regard, in my speech delivered in 2009 on the commemoration of the Revolution of the King and the People, I stressed the need “to develop alternative judicial approaches such as mediation, arbitration and conciliation”. Those guidelines were also included my message to your first conference, in which I called for the establishment of alternative dispute settlement mechanisms.

In response to an urgent request from investors to simplify and speed up administrative and judicial procedures, a draft arbitration and mediation code has been prepared and will be submitted for ratification.

These endeavours have led to an increase in the investments attracted by the Kingdom as well as to an improvement in my country’s ranking in the Doing Business Index 2019.

We look forward to moving further up the Doing Business Index and improve Morocco’s position so that it may feature among the top 50 countries in the world in terms of the quality of the business environment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Commercial courts were established a quarter of a century ago in my country. Now is a good time to assess that experience and see what improvements can be made by building on what has been accomplished and exploring new avenues based on experiences from around the world. One such example would be the establishment of business courts, a possibility which is now being considered by some countries.

To consolidate this approach, particular attention should be given to specialized training for the benefit of the various bodies involved in the justice system so as to increase the capacity of courts to issue fair and appropriate rulings within a reasonable timeframe. I wish to refer, in this regard, to the role of Supreme Courts in standardizing jurisprudence and the interpretation of the law. This is an opportunity to shine a light on the importance of the case law established by Morocco’s commercial courts, which are a specialized branch of our judiciary.

In the same vein, we should make the most of the means afforded by modern technology for the dissemination of legal and judicial information. We should also promote the paperless processing of legal procedures and judicial regulations and adopt online justice methods. The latter is an effective means which contributes to swift and efficient judicial services and meets requirements for the settlement of business and financial disputes. These goals should be provided for in the law, and all the stakeholders in the justice system should get involved in the sector’s digital transition.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Creating a safe environment for investment from the economic, social, legal, administrative and structural perspectives means we all have to strive doubly hard to consolidate the rule of law, enhance the independence of the judiciary, promote judicial foresight, ensure staff training, improve judicial administration and strengthen governance in the judiciary. To this end, an integrated, holistic approach should be adopted to address investment issues through laws relating to commerce, banking, taxation, customs, real estate, documentation and social affairs. The approach should also take into account the international and technological dimensions imposed by the globalization of trade, finance and economic exchange around the world.

Considering the profile of participants in this conference, which has brought together ministers, judges, legal experts, economists, politicians and figures from finance, business and academia, I am confident this meeting will provide an opportunity to reflect on best practices and come up with innovative, realistic solutions as well as state-of-the-art approaches. This should help you formulate proposals and recommendations that can improve the environment of business and investment and enhance their role in development. I am sure your work will inform decision-making and inspire researchers and all those interested in this field.

I wish you a successful conference.

Thank you.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh."

MAP 21 October 2019