Justice reform has become a strategic priority for Morocco and an urgent necessity to modernise the judicial system, strengthen its governance and ensure its reorganisation. To that end, several projects were carried out, including projects designed to strengthen the independence of the judiciary, upgrade the commercial courts, dematerialise legal proceedings and facilitate user access to legal and judicial information.

It is within this context that the new law No. 73-17 amending the Book V of the Commercial Code was adopted and published in the Official Gazette on 23 April 2018.

The reform project, which is eagerly awaited by both economic and institutional operators , draws on international standards in the matter, namely ; the World Bank's Principles  for Insolvency and debtor-creditor regime and the UNCITRAL Legislative Guide on Insolvency Law. It is noteworthy that this new law was implemented under the CNEA action plan through an effective collaboration between the Ministry of Justice and all stakeholders.

In addition, the group of experts in charge of drafting this law has drawn on important international experiences; especially: Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code and the German and Belgian Codes on the regulation of corporate insolvency.

Such a legal framework would unquestionably make a substantive contribution to improving the business climate in Morocco, and enhancing the country's attractiveness through providing greater legal certainty for investors as well as promoting good governance in managing corporate insolvency cases.

The main contributions of this reform can be summarised as follows:

  • A strong emphasis was placed on the internal and external prevention procedures that help companies to keep their business going, through avoiding, as far as possible; their legal redress or liquidation. Thus, the legislator is moving from the logic of sanction to that of support.
  • The creation of a new procedure, referred to as "safeguard procedure" for companies placed under the protection of the law. This procedure is voluntary and applies only to companies that do not suspend the payment obligations.
  • The establishment of a new mechanism allowing the creditors to participate in the preparation of the company's restructuring plan, attend the deliberations and eventually change the trustee. This is achieved mainly through the establishment of the creditors' assembly;
  • The possibility given to the company director to obtain, during the legal redress procedure, the necessary financial resources, if necessary. The legislator has also given the shareholders, who fund the company during the friendly settlement procedures, the right to recover their debts /enforce their claims before the other creditors;
  • The incorporation of the provisions on international insolvency proceedings in accordance with the UNCITRAL Model Law.