5 ST JAMES COURT regroups self-employed barristers, who can either be instructed 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
HONOURABLE DR ARVIN BOOLELL, GOSK V THE SPEAKER OF THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, HONOURABLE SOOROOJDEV PHOKEER, GCSK, GOSK & ANOR [2023 SCJ 480]Posted on 30/11/2023
STANFORD ASSET HOLDINGS LTD AND ANOTHER (APPELLANTS) V AFRASIA BANK LTD (RESPONDENT) (MAURITIUS)  UKPC 35Posted on 25/09/2023
SURENDRA DAYAL (APPELLANT) V PRAVIND KUMAR JUGNAUTH AND 7 OTHERS (RESPONDENTS) (MAURITIUS)  UKPC 37Posted on 01/09/2023
L’HISTOIRE DE LA FARINE V M_S LANDSCOPE (MAURITIUS) LTD [2023 SCJ 168]Posted on 31/07/2023
The Court held that amending both parties, the party suing and the party being sued, could not have been the subject of a genuine mistake and accepting late amendments, that is amendments made after the exchange of affidavits, would be prejudicial to the respondent and would amount to an abuse of process. The proposed amendments would have the effect of substituting altogether new parties to the case. Hence, the court held that the grounds of the respondent were well taken, and the application should be set aside with costs.
GONESS S. & ORS V THE MUNICIPAL COUNCIL OF VACOAS-PHOENIX 2023 SCJ 247Posted on 29/07/2023
The applicants’ contention was that the decision of the respondent, granting the co-respondent’s a Building and Land Use Permit for the conversion of an existing building to be used as a store and for depot of vehicles, is tainted with illegality and irrationality in that it failed to comply with the planning Policy Guideline 1 (PPG1) of the Planning and Development Act and the Outline Planning Scheme (OPS) of the Town and Country Planning Act. The court highlighted that the PPG1 is used as design guidance for industrial and commercial roads, and not in assessing a BLUP application while the OPS only set out that the local authority shall comply with the guidance and shall not approve any plan for development works that contravene the scheme. The court further emphasized that the applicants’ prime objections to the BLUP application essentially rest upon the issue of disturbance and that was the reason as to why the BLUP application was approved with several conditions designed specifically to to attenuate the applicants’ specific grievances. The Court found no merit in the applicants’ case and set aside the judicial review application.
BEST CONSTRUCT CO. LTD V THE CENTRAL WATER AUTHORITY & ANOR 2023 SCJ 257Posted on 01/07/2023
GUNESH V NATIONAL TRANSPORT CORPORATION  UKPC 17Posted on 04/07/2019
In the present matter, the Board held there are two possible burdens in matters of an alleged unfair termination of contract of employment - one on the employer to prove particular facts to establish justification; the other on the employee to discharge the ultimate burden. They are separate burdens arising in different contexts. It is not a case of a single burden moving from one party to the other. Where, as here, the employer raises a particular defence, it must adduce evidence in support of that defence; hence the use of the term, “evidential burden”. The appeal was dismissed.
KURREEMUN B.P. V CENTRAL ELECTRICITY BOARD  SCJ 27Posted on 04/07/2019
SONIAWEAR LTD V THE REGISTRAR GENERAL  SCJ 69Posted on 04/07/2019
THE STATE OF MAURITIUS V CT POWER LTD & ORS  UKPC 27Posted on 04/07/2019
ANGTEEAH V BATHFIELD AND OTHERS (2019) UKPC 23Posted on 01/07/2019
This is an appeal concerning the sale of leasehold land and the non-fulfilment of a contractual requirement in the sale agreement for the obtaining of permission from the Ministry for the transfer of the leasehold rights from the vendor to the purchaser. The appeal was dismissed because the sale agreement had lapsed as the contractual requirement to obtain permission from the Ministry is a condition suspensive which was not fulfilled within a reasonable time.
DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS V JUGNAUTH AND ANOR 2019 UKPC 8Posted on 01/07/2019
STATE TRADING CORPORATION V BETAMAX LTD (2019) SCJ 154Posted on 01/07/2019
This was an application to set aside an arbitral award pursuant to sections 39(2)(a)(i), 39(2)(b)(i) and/or 39(2)(b)(ii) of the International Arbitration Act (IAA). The Award was held to be contrary to the public policy of Mauritius within the meaning of section 39(2)(b)(ii) of the IAA as it was borne out of an illegal contract obtained in breach of the Public Procurement Act. The Award was accordingly set aside.
Ravindra Chetty, SC appeared together with Yashley Reesaul, Usha Bhurton and Jayaluxmi Somar for the Applicant.
FOONDUN M.S. V. BANQUE DES MASCAREIGNES AND ANOR (2019) SCJ 58Posted on 28/02/2019
This is an application to order commercial banks (the Respondents) to disclose cheques and depone at trial pursuant to sections 60(3), 64(9) & (10) of the Banking Act and the principles for a Norwich Pharmacal Order. The application was set aside because the conditions under 60(3), 64(9) & (10) of the Banking Act as well as for a Norwich Pharmacal Order were not satisfied.
CHADY S.B. V HABIB BANK (2018) SCJ 363Posted on 28/02/2019
FUZAK M. V BRECKA I. (2018) SCJ 63Posted 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.
ALRIDGE S.A. V LO SEEN CHEONG T. (2018) SCJ 269Posted on 05/10/2018
CONSTANTIN R. V DE ROSNAY M.P. & ORS (2018) SCJ 33Posted on 05/10/2018
SUMERU LTD V RODRIGUES REGIONAL ASSEMBLY (2018) SCJ 70Posted on 05/10/2018
S & A CONSTRUCTION PROJECT SERVICES LTD & ANOR V BANQUE DES MASCAREIGNES & ANOR (2017) SCJ 129Posted 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. 1Ravindra Chetty, SC appeared with Usha Burton for Respondent No. 2
CIVIL JURISDICTION IN MAURITIUSPosted on 21/06/2017
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.
COVID19 - NOTICEPosted on 22/03/2020
Following on from the Prime Minister’s announcement on 19 March 2020, Mauritius has gone into a period national confinement.
All members of chambers and staff are able to work from home. We continue to deliver services to all our clients and are available to assist.
While non-essential travel is not possible in the country, we are available for meetings by telephone or video conferencing.
We can be reached by email and on our mobile numbers. The main switch board is operational on (230) 208 63 72 from 9 am to 5 pm (local time) Monday to Friday.
The courts are also operating on a restricted basis. We will post up further information on our website as this becomes available.
If you have any questions or require any further information, please get in touch with your usual contact person at 5 ST JAMES COURT and we will be happy to assist.
COVID19 - COMMUNIQUE FROM THE SUPREME COURTPosted on 22/03/2020
Communiqué from the Supreme Court:
"In view of the two weeks’ lockdown announced by the Prime Minister on Thursday night, the public is informed that all cases scheduled before all courts in Mauritius and Rodrigues during the period of lockdown stand postponed by order of the Chief Justice. The dates to which these cases are postponed will be eventually communicated to all those concerned.
The District Court of Port Louis will be operational on the premises of the Bail and Remand Court on the ground floor of the New Court House to deal with all urgent Criminal and Civil matters for all District Courts as from Monday the 23rd March 2020 during the lockdown period. The Intermediate and Industrial courts can be contacted during the period of confinement to deal with any urgent matters which may arise.
As an exceptional measure during the period of lockdown, the Weekend Court sitting at the premises of the Bail and Remand Court on the ground floor of the New Court House will deal with any District Court issue or query arising on Saturday 21st March and on Saturday 28th March 2020.
All urgent applications to the Supreme Court will be dealt with from Monday 23rd to Friday 27th March 2020 by a Supreme Court Judge sitting in Chambers. During the ensuing week (period of Court vacation) there will be a Judge in Chambers on Monday, Wednesday and Friday only."
NEW TENANTS JOIN 5 ST JAMES COURTPosted on 05/10/2018
MARC CONFERENCE 2017 ON EFFICIENCY IN ARBITRATION PROCEEDINGSPosted 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/.