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Mauritius

Editorial

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 ‘exceptionalBLC 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.

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Legal Developments in Mauritius

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • MAURITIUS PROVIDING AN ATTRACTIVE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR CLINICAL TRIALS

    The development of Life Sciences has been one of Mauritius’s long time ambitions. It is an industry which meshes well the island’s ambitions in the pharmaceutical industry and bio-technological research. However, the testing of drugs on human subjects is an issue which has sparked ethical controversies worldwide. Prior to the enactment of the Clinical Trials Act 2011 (the “Act ”) in September 2011, projects for conducting clinical research on human beings were prohibited in Mauritius.
  • Execution of foreign judgment in Mauritius

    Execution of foreign judgment in Mauritius - As a matter of law of evidence in Mauritius, foreign law is a matter of fact which can only be proved by expert evidence.
  • Mauritius - Legal Updates

    Mauritius has a sophisticated and transparent regulatory system that is ideal for a dynamic entrepreneurial environment and to promote diversified economic growth. Its openness to investors worldwide, its geographical location as well as its membership to international organizations such as the African Union (AU), the South African Development Countries (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Commonwealth of Nations, allow Mauritius to have a preferential and secure access to a wider market.
  • International Regulation and IFCs

    Doing business anywhere in the world has become more difficult in 2014. The international business community at large has felt the bite of regulations having cross-border reach. These have forever changed the way in which businesses are run, and this in turn amplifies the challenge for international financial centres ( IFCs )
  • Mauritius – New Requirements reinforces its position as a Jurisdiction of Substance

    Strategically located in the Indian Ocean perched on the axis of investments from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Mauritius has throughout the last two decades forged a strong reputation as a premier international financial centre. The combination of fiscal and non-fiscal advantages together the diverse product-base have been the key ingredients of the Mauritius success story. Since the inception of the International Financial Centre in 1989, Mauritius has demarcated itself from other IFCs by focusing on the development of its network of Double Taxation Treaties and Investment Protection Agreements to be a regional financial centre and natural conduit for trade and investment into emerging economies in the region. The introduction of new substance requirements for Global Business Companies operating from Mauritius which will become effective on 1 st January 2015 are part and parcel of the strategy to continue to deepen the financial services and increase its input to the country’s GDP.
  • New DTAs in Force with Mauritius

    Kenya
  • Recent Legislative Developments in Mauritius

    Mauritius sends a strong signal to the International Financial Community and further improves its image as a well regulated International Financial Centre of substance by the introduction of new guidelines for companies holding a Category 1 Global Business License (GBL 1). In that respect the Financial Services Commission (FSC) has amended the rules of Global Business by introducing additional economic substance in Mauritius in order to demonstrate presence, which can be reasonably expected from a corporation managed and controlled in Mauritius. Further, Mauritius is enhancing its position as a jurisdiction of choice for the resolution of business and investment disputes in the African region, by allowing and encouraging shareholders of GBL 1 companies to arbitrate in Mauritius with regards to dispute arising out of the constitution of the company. Another significant development is the enactment of the Copyrights Act 2014, which modernises the intellectual property rights environment in Mauritius and makes Mauritius copyright law compliant with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonogram Treaty.
  • Legislative developments in 2013 in the field of international arbitration

    A number of important refinements have been brought to the area of dispute resolution last year to further cement the position of Mauritius as a venue for adjudicating international disputes. Those changes to arbitration landscape were ushered through the International Arbitration (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2013 (the "Amending Act"), which was promulgated at the same time as the Supreme Court issued the Supreme Court (International Arbitration Claims) Rules 2013 (the "Rules"). Importantly, the Amending Act brought harmonising changes to the Civil Procedure Code.
  • New FSC regulations reinforces the position of Mauritius as a jurisdiction of substance

    The introduction of new substance requirements for Global Business Companies operating from Mauritius which will become effective on 1st January 2015 are part and parcel of a strategy to further boost financial services and increase its input to the country's GDP.
  • Mauritius - A Trusted Jurisdiction for Private Wealth Management

    Strategically located in the Indian Ocean perched on the axis of on the axis of investments from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, Mauritius has throughout the last two decades forged a strong reputation as a premier international financial centre. The combination of fiscal and non-fiscal advantages together the diverse product-base have been the key ingredients of the Mauritius success story. Although Mauritius is better known as a gateway for the structuring of investments into India and increasingly Africa, it is well on course to become a leading jurisdiction for private client services in the region.

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