Legal market overview
- Mardemootoo Solicitors
- 5 St James Court
Banymandhub Boolell Chambers
Mauritius is increasingly an attractive finance and business destination, being utilised as a platform for investment into Africa, Asia and Australasia. As international investors shift their focus onto Africa, the jurisdiction’s favourable tax rates and numerous international investment treaties with emerging African markets make it a competitive option. In addition, the island is set to become a hub for international arbitration with the establishment of The LCIA-MIAC Arbitration Centre (LCIA-MIAC), stemming from an agreement in 2011 between the London Court of International Arbitration, the government of the Republic of Mauritius and the Mauritius International Arbitration Centre Limited.
Mauritius’ legal market has flourished since the market opened in 2008 and it is serviced by barristers and attorneys, with many law firms and sets fielding both types of lawyer; barristers often advise on contentious and non-contentious matters. There are significantly more barristers practising in Mauritius than attorneys.
The market includes a variety of experienced local law firms and sets advising on general business law. Benoit Chambers and BLC Robert are widely praised in the market and have strong dispute resolution practices, as well as corporate and commercial expertise.
Global offshore firms such as Conyers Dill & Pearman, Appleby and Bedell Cristin have offices on the island. Eversheds is growing its market presence following the hire of its first local practitioner at partner level in 2014.
The ranking is based on quality and scope of service. Therefore, a narrowly focused practice may be ranked lower in the table than a quality competitor with a broader base, but may be outstanding in its chosen discipline.
Appleby has ‘an excellent reputation in the market’. It is renowned for its offshore expertise and undertakes corporate and commercial work for a variety international clients, many of which have a particular focus on investment into Indian, African and Asian markets; the firm also has a growing insolvency and litigation practice. Recent work includes advising GIC on the Mauritian law aspects relating to the acquisition of Greenko Group and acted for Bank of Baroda and a consortium of lender banks regarding a $1bn facility granted to the Sterling Group. Noted individuals include head of corporate Malcolm Moller and head of dispute resolution Gilbert Noel.
The ‘exceptional’ BLC Robert is part of the ALN alliance. The firm has core practices in corporate law, banking and finance, investment fund management and tax matters are central to the firm, which also has a robust dispute resolution department. Key highlights included advising Courts Asia on its bid to acquire Courts Mauritius. RIU Hotel and Resort Group is also a key client. Managing partner Iqbal Rajahbalee is ‘first rate’ and particularly active in banking and finance transactions. Fazil Hossenkhan advises on capital markets and corporate matters, corporate and M&A lawyer Jason Harel has ‘an excellent reputation’, and Jean-Eric Sauzier specialises in banking and insolvency.
Benoit Chambers’ team of ‘experienced’ practitioners undertakes corporate, financial, tax, IP, employment, projects and commercial litigation work, and the set is instructed by several high-profile financial services clients, such as the Bank of Mauritius and the Financial Services Commission. Clarel Benoit has ‘a great reputation’, particularly for transactional work; Rishi Pursem is noted for litigation and arbitration; and Nadeem Lallmamode is singled out for finance-related matters. The firm has an association with Dentons.
Basset Chambers houses ‘a fantastic array of talent’ and routinely advises on contentious commercial, corporate and civil instructions. Désiré Basset is experienced in company and industrial law, as well as civil litigation. The team has acted for clients such as Air Mauritius, Mauritius Telecom, KPMG and the Financial Services Commission.
Conyers Dill & Pearman is a key choice for many international clients, drawing on its position as a leading offshore firm. Corporate and financing mandates are a mainstay of the team, which recently advised CITIC Construction on the structuring of a $300m investment platform. The ‘brilliant’ Stephen Scali heads the office.
The ‘practical’ team at ENSafrica is well placed to advise clients on investments into Africa, leveraging its strong network of offices across the continent. The firm advised Papillon Resources on the Fekola gold mining project in Mali. It also acted for Weston International Capital in a high-profile claimagainst PT Bank and J Trust pertaining to defaulted bond payments, which was heard before the Supreme Court. Office head Thierry Koenig is ‘excellent’, particularly in project finance and banking matters. Martine de Fleuriot de la Colinière leads the corporate and commercial team, with the ‘first-rate’ Maxime Sauzier heading the litigation practice.
Juristconsult Chambers’ broad expertise spans contentious and non-contentious work in the fields of corporate, commercial, banking, finance, transport, energy and TMT. Clients include several banks and other financial institutions, as well as airlines, aviation insurers, energy companies and clients in the tourism sector. The firm has strong international links, notably through its membership of the DLA Piper Africa alliance. The ‘brilliant’ and ‘experienced’ Marc Hein heads the practice, where Nicolas Richard and Ammar Oozeer are also singled out for praise.
Uteem Chambers is a prominent player in the market and is instructed on a range of banking, finance, corporate, tax, disputes and offshore business matters. Key contact Muhammad Uteem is the firm founder and head.
Led by Yuvraj Juwaheer, offshore firm Bedell Cristin provides a range of services, covering banking, finance, securities, capital markets and insolvency. The firm has a robust reputation in the context of representing clients looking to invest South Africa, India and Asia.
Erriah Chambers advises on taxation, trusts, finance, corporate, commercial and employment law, and is part of the Lex Africa network. Notable niches are its knowledge of offshore jurisdictions and its experience in the aviation sector, where it is well regarded. Dev Erriah heads the practice and has a solid reputation.
Eversheds is increasingly prominent in Mauritius and recently widening its focus from offshore and international transactions to become a full-service law firm advising on corporate, commercial, employment, banking, finance and litigation matters. In addition, the firm is looking to expand into IP and competition work during 2016 with several hires in the pipeline. Recent work includes advising a pan-African infrastructure development fund on a co-investment strategy with an existing fund and assisting Brait on the completion of its equity capital raising, transitioning it from a private equity fund manager to investment holding company. Managing partner Miro Dvorak is recommended for banking and finance advice, as well as work in the aviation sector; the ‘excellent’ Yannick Fok heads the employment and dispute resolution teams; and Michael Hough leads the corporate, commercial and securities teams.
Mardemootoo Solicitors advises on contentious and non-contentious matters spanning corporate, finance, banking, tax, commercial, capital markets and aviation law. Managing partner Robin Mardemootoo heads the banking and corporate finance team.
5 St James Court’s ‘accessible’ and ‘highly rated’ team acts for clients such as HSBC (Mauritius), Grant Thornton, Mauritius Post and Cooperative Bank and KPMG. Ravindra Chetty is ‘very good on corporate litigation’ and Avinash Sunassee has ‘an excellent understanding of financial services regulation’; he is able to provide ‘practical and sound advice on commercial matters’ and ‘has a very good legal mind’.
At Banymandhub Boolell Chambers, which is part of the Temple Group, founding member Urmila Boolell has an excellent reputation in contentious and non-contentious work across corporate, commercial, projects and tax matters. It is particularly good in cross-border matters and recently acted for a group of 69 investors in a dispute with domestic and international companies.
The team at C&A Law is adept at advising on corporate, commercial and litigation mandates, with key contact Gilles Athaw being experienced in finance matters.
Balgobin Chambers has a ‘strong’ banking practice and also advises on civil, commercial, corporate and international law. Clients include Nomura International, Timekeeper Limited, Turkish Airlines and ING Bank. Managing partner Priscilla Balgobin-Bhoyrul has ‘a great reputation’.
Led by the highly rated Razack Peeroo, Chambers of A.R.M.A. Peeroo SC GOSK advises on contentious and non-contentious work covering offshore, energy, infrastructure, construction, banking, finance, real estate and insurance. The ‘first-rate’ Jamsheed Peeroo is acting for Hewlett-Packard in a transactional dispute.
Boutique firm IPvocate Africa Law Firm Cabinet d’Avocats Ltd fields ‘top-quality’ lawyers and advises on the protection, management and enforcement of IP rights. Clients include Honda Motor Europe, Tana Africa Capital, Cowbell International and the Promasidor Group. Head of the firm Marius Schneider is ‘consistently responsive, reliable’ and ‘puts the needs of the client first’.
Yousuf Mohamed is the key contact at MC Law Offices, which has solid litigation, arbitration, corporate and transactional capability.