Information

Law In Mauritius

MAURITIAN LEGAL SYSTEM

 

Mauritius has a hybrid legal system with the substantive civil and criminal law being of French origin and public law and laws relating to procedure being of English origin.


The Mauritian Legal System owes its peculiar characteristics to its rich history. Once governed by France, Mauritius has preserved Le Code Napoleon as a legacy from French colonisation. As from 1810, Mauritius became under British rule and British colonisation also left its mark. The Law of procedure and Evidence as well as rules of statutory interpretation all draw their inspiration from English law.


THE COURT SYSTEM


The highest court of appeal in Mauritius remains the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in civil cases is as of right. For criminal appeals, leave from the Supreme Court of Mauritius is required.

The Supreme Court of Mauritius comprises several divisions, namely, the Court of Criminal Appeal, the Court of Civil Appeal, the Bankrupcy Division, the Commercial Division, the Family Division as well as a Mediation Court. There are also a number of subordinate Courts. There are the District Courts and the Intermediate Court that exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction. There is also the Industrial Court and the Bail & Remand Court.


There are also a number of Tribunals, such as the Fair Rent Tribunal, the Environment and Land Use Tribunal, the Employment Relations Tribunal, the Public Bodies Appeal Tribunal and other quasi-judicial bodies such as the Commission for Conciliation and Mediation, the Independent Review Panel and the Equal Opportunities Commission.


ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION


Mediation is today increasingly seen as a viable mechanism for alternative dispute resolution. Mediation is especially prevalent in labour and employment matters. The Employment Relations Act of 2008 provides for the conciliation or mediation of labour disputes through a statutory Commission. In 2010, the Supreme Court of Mauritius established a Mediation Division under the Mediation Rules. The Mediation Division deals with such civil suit, action, cause or matter which has been brought and is pending before the Supreme Court, and which the Chief Justice deem appropriate to be referred to mediation. Mediation, in this context, takes place before a Judge of the Supreme Court.


Domestic arbitration is well established in Mauritius. The Mauritian Code de procédure civile provides for an arbitration mechanism that is often resorted to in commercial disputes, especially in the flourishing construction industry in Mauritius. In addition, the Maritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry provides a comprehensive institutional framework for arbitration, that is one of the first, if not the first, of such institutional frameworks in the Indian Ocean.  


Mauritius has also passed an International Arbitration Act, a state of the art piece of legislation in relation to arbitrations and dispute resolution, and is in the process of developing the country as an international arbitration hub.


The London Court of International Arbitration (‘LCIA’) has set up offices in Mauritius for arbitrations to be conducted under its rules. The Permanent Court of Arbitration (‘PCA’) has also set up a presence in Mauritius which we understand makes Mauritius the only country in the world to host a permanent representative of the PCA outside The Hague.


Mauritius is also a party to the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (‘CSID’), which deals specifically with disputes between states and nationals of other contracting states, and which provides for both conciliation and arbitration mechanisms for disputes. On the whole, Mauritius provides a good neutral venue for hosting a company with investments and business partners in the region.

5 St James Court

THE SET


5 ST JAMES COURT regroups self-employed barristers, who can either be iinstructed individually or as part of a team.  Chambers offers expertise in both contentious and non-contentious work on all aspects of Mauritian Law.  It is a full-service set.


Chambers is predominantly a civil and commercial set, although members of Chambers also advise and act in complex criminal litigation. They appear before all jurisdictions in Mauritius and have rights of audience before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.


Members of Chambers offer particular expertise in relation to Administrative & Public, Arbitration, Banking, Civil Law, Commercial Law, Company, Corporate, Criminal Litigation, Employment and Labour, Environment, Insolvency, Insurance, Financial Services, Trusts and Tax.  A significant part of the practice in Chambers involves cross-border transactions.


GLOBALAW

 

5 ST JAMES COURT forms part of Globalaw, an international network of over 1010 law firms, with over 4,500 lawyers across the Globe.  We are therefore able to provide a seamless service to our clients worldwide. Globalaw is not an exclusive network and does not operate a referral fee system.  We retain complete discretion in the selection of foreign counsel most appropriate and qualified to meet the needs of our clients.

 

Other Services

Certain members of Chambers have expertise and experience in advisory and transactional work, especially in the ever-expanding global business sector in Mauritius.
 

As a full-service set, 5 ST JAMES COURT aims to offer a pragmatic and commercially sound approach in devising solutions for its client. We thus often work regularly with leading Management Companies in Mauritius that offer reliable services in the formation and administration of Offshore Companies, Foundations, Funds and Trusts. 5 ST JAMES COURT is thus able to propose integrated solutions to its clients.

Case Summaries

FUZAK M. V BRECKA I. (2018) SCJ 63

Posted on 05/10/2018

This is an appeal against a bankruptcy order made by a Learned Judge of the Supreme Court sitting in the bankruptcy division against the Appellant adjudicating him bankrupt. The jurisdiction of the learned Judge was being challenged. The Court held that the Learned Judge had the jurisdiction to make a determination of facts in relation to the bankruptcy petition and the appeal was dismissed.


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ALRIDGE S.A. V LO SEEN CHEONG T. (2018) SCJ 269

Posted on 05/10/2018
In the present matter, the Court of Civil Appeal quashed the decision of the learned Judge overruling a plea in limine to the effect that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to hear the action as the alleged defamatory communications took place outside Mauritius. The Court of Civil Appeal held that our Courts have jurisdiction in tort cases where the ‘acte dommageable” or “préjudice” takes place in Mauritius.
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CONSTANTIN R. V DE ROSNAY M.P. & ORS (2018) SCJ 33

Posted on 05/10/2018
dIn the present matter, the Court held that the post scriptum was valid and formed part of the will. As regards the second issue, the Court found that the word “héritiers” meant all the legatees named in the will and not only the heirs born Darné. The Court therefore homologated the final deed of partition drawn up by the plaintiff to effect the partition and liquidation of the succession of late Dr. Darné.
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SUMERU LTD V RODRIGUES REGIONAL ASSEMBLY (2018) SCJ 70

Posted on 05/10/2018
In the present matter, the Court held that in a case of breach of contract, there is no need to aver any “lien de subsidiarité”. Having found that the grounds of appeal were well taken, the Court of Civil Appeal allowed the appeal, quashed the decision of the learned trial Judge. The Court also found that the decision in the case of Westport Enterprise Ltd v The State of Mauritius [2017 SCJ 256] is also wrong for the same reasons given in this judgment.
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S & A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT SERVICES LTD & ANOR V BANQUE DES MASCAREIGNES & ANOR (2017) SCJ 129

Posted on 28/06/2017

In this case, the Court of Appeal set aside an appeal on the ground that the Appellants had not sought to challenge the reasoning and/or findings of the lower court in their grounds of appeal, which were therefore not valid. The court of Appeal also affirmed the principle established in IT Rostom v D. Bheenuck [2013 SCJ 464] that an issue which had not been taken before the Court below could not be raised for the first time on appeal.

Avinash Sunassee appeared for Respondent No. 1

Ravindra Chetty, SC appeared with Usha Burton for Respondent No. 2
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Papers & Presentations

CIVIL JURISDICTION IN MAURITIUS

Posted on 21/06/2017
This paper provides a generic and broad overview of the Mauritian Court’s jurisdiction in Contract, Tort and Insolvency matters. The information provided is for information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice, and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. 

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Social Responsibility

At 5 ST JAMES COURT, we believe that investment in education and youth in critical is the development of Mauritius, and that poverty should not be an obstacle to access to education. Chambers has in this context been very active over last few years in charitable projects across Mauritius.
 

ST BARTHOLOMEW’S PROJECT
 

In 2017, 5 ST JAMES COURT donated school materials to 70 needy students of the St Bartholomew's College in Port Louis. Chambers together with its friends and partners also collected funds to also provide for school uniforms for the students.


ANNUAL CHRISTMAS LUNCH AT FOYER PÈRE LAVAL


It is now a Chambers’ tradition to share the joy of Christmas with the boys of Foyer Pere Laval, a charitable institution for orphans. For 5 years now,
5 ST JAMES COURT together with its friends and partners have been organizing a Christmas lunch at Foyer Pere Laval, so we have the opportunity to spend some time with the children, share a meal together, and distribute Christmas presents and school materials.

News & Events

NEW TENANTS JOIN 5 ST JAMES COURT

Posted on 05/10/2018
Chambers is delighted to announce that four new tenants have recently joined us. They are Mathieu Marie Joseph, Khavi Chetty, Yakshini Peerthum and Jessie Asiriah. 

Earlier in the year, Reena Jogeedoo-Pentiah, Peraanendhi Mauree and Jalaluxmi Somar also joined us. 
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MARC CONFERENCE 2017 ON EFFICIENCY IN ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGS

Posted on 25/06/2017

We are pleased to announce that 5 STJAMES COURT will be one of the sponsors of the MCCI Arbitration and Mediation Centre (MARC) Conference 2017 on Efficiency in Arbitration Proceedings. The conference is aimed at providing arbitrators, lawyers and operators with an insight on how to control time and costs effectively when involved in arbitration proceedings.

The conference will be held at Le Labourdonnais Waterfront Hotel on Wednesday 12 July 2017, from 9h - 13h. More details are available on the MCCI website at:https://www.mcci.org/en/media-news-events/events/efficiency-in-arbitration-proceedings/.


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