About Mauritius

The island of Mauritius was first discovered by the Portuguese in the early 1600 but they eventually left the island.  Subsequently, the Dutch settled in Mauritius from 1638 to 1710 and the island was named after the Dutch prince Mauritz de Nassau.  Ultimately, the French arrived and settled on the island as from 1715, ultimately transforming the island as a French colony and naming it as Isle de France.

Before the establishment of the Suez Canal, Mauritius emerged as a significant hub linking the trade routes between Europe and the Far East earning it the epithet “the star and the key of the Indian Ocean”.  In 1810, following a five-day battle, the British seized control of the island.  The French, after surrendering, entered into the treaty of capitulation with the British.  According to this treaty, the French occupiers were permitted to retain their property, Language, customs, and existing laws, including the Code Napoleon, the Code de Commerce, and the Code Pénal.

Mauritius became independent in 1968 and a Republic in 1992.  With 12 general elections held since 1968, it remains a democratic country and general  elections are organised in a free and fair manner.   Despite becoming a republic, Mauritius has chosen to remain a member of the Commonwealth and retains the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as its court of final appeal.

The Economy of Mauritius

Mauritius has demonstrated remarkable progress since independence boasting a well-diversified economy.  It ascended to the status of high-income economy before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.  It has now been classified as an upper-middle-income economy.

Like numerous nations worldwide, Mauritius faced significant challenges due to the pandemic’s effect on its economy.  Since then, Mauritius has exhibited robust recovery from the pandemic’s aftermath evidenced by a notable growth of 8% in 2022 and 5% in 2023.  Projection for 2024 indicates a continued upward trajectory with a forecasted real GDP growth rate of 4.9% in 2024. 

The main drivers of growth in Mauritius are tourism and hospitality, financial services, manufacturing and textiles, Agro-Industry and ICT.

The Legal System

The legal system of Mauritius has been shaped by its historical occupation by both the French and the British, resulting in a unique blend of civil law and British common law practices. While foundational codes such as the Code de Commerce, the Civil Code, and the Code Penal remain integral to Mauritius's legal framework, the post-independence era has seen the enactment of statutes through parliamentary processes.

Key statutes relevant to corporate and commercial practice areas reflect the modernization and alignment of Mauritius's legal landscape with global standards. These include the Companies Act 2001, Trusts Act 2001, Financial Intelligence and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2002, Financial Services Act 2007, Prevention of Corruption Act 2002, Securities Act 2005, and the International Arbitration Act 2008. These statutes not only govern business activities but also demonstrate Mauritius's commitment to transparency, good governance, and international best practices in the legal domain.

Legal Services & the Legal Profession

Mauritius's legal profession is composed of barristers, attorneys, and notaries, each playing a distinct role in the delivery of legal services.

While all notaries and attorneys are required to undergo vocational training and examinations administered by the Council for Vocational and Legal Education in Mauritius, barristers have the option to pursue their vocational courses and examinations locally or at institutions offering the bar vocational course in the UK.

Following successful completion of their vocational training, aspiring barristers, attorneys, or notaries must undergo pupillage under the supervision of a pupil master with at least ten years of experience at the bar.

In 2008, amendments to the Law Practitioners Act 1984 opened avenues for collaboration between local and foreign law firms, allowing the establishment of joint law venture law firms. Since then, several international law firms have received authorization from the Attorney General's Office to operate in Mauritius.

Recent legislative changes, notably amendments to the Finance (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2016, have further expanded opportunities in the legal landscape. These amendments empower the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius to license global law firms to provide comprehensive global legal advisory services. These services encompass a wide range of areas, including global business, international arbitration, corporate law, taxation law, and foreign and international law, positioning Mauritius as a hub for international legal expertise and services.