The production of foreign language documents before the courts in Morocco


The translation into Arabic of documents in foreign languages that litigants, particularly foreigners, wish to use before the Moroccan courts became optional following the adoption by the House of Representatives in Parliament of Article 14 of the draft law on the organisation of the judiciary in the Kingdom.

It is true that under the previous system, case law often qualified the obligation to translate all documents into Arabic.

For example, the Casablanca Court of Appeal has always required Arabic for the main pleadings (applications, submissions, etc.) but not for the evidential and supporting documents (invoices, order forms, etc.), which are often produced in a foreign language without an official translation.

Nevertheless, the courts had a free hand in this respect and litigants, especially foreigners, often spontaneously used sworn translators to avoid the judges retaining all or part of their documents or declaring the action inadmissible. The result was an increase in costs and a lengthening of the procedure.

This legislative reform thus makes it possible to unify judicial practices and reverses the principle that translation is no longer compulsory unless the judge agrees, unless the courts expressly request it.

Indeed, depending on the complexity of the issues and the stakes, the court will always be able to request a translation.

Similarly, it is sometimes in the interest of the litigant to spontaneously translate essential documents into Arabic to enable the judge to make an informed decision, especially if the documents are complex and decisive for the continuation of the proceedings.

Like all good reforms, this one is not a revolution but an evolution that goes in the direction of flexibility and an inclusive dialogue between litigants, especially foreigners, and the courts.

By Laurent Sablé and Mohamed Reda Deryany.

Mohamed Reda Deryany