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Monaco at a glance

Contributed by CMS Pasquier Ciulla & Marquet

Monaco at a glance

Being the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican, Monaco is located at the crossroads of France and Italy and is opened on the Mediterranean basin, which gives its residents an exceptional quality of life and makes it easily accessible by all means of transportation, Nice Airport being only 22 km away from Monaco. It is about 3.3 km long and 0.6 km wide, with a surface area of about 2 sq. km, some of which has been reclaimed from the sea over the past decades, especially through the construction, between 1966 and 1973, of the Fontvieille area, which can be qualified as the Monaco business and industries district.

With 38,300 inhabitants (among which 9,259 are Monaco nationals as of 31 December 2017) and a density of around 19,300 inhabitants per sq. km, Monaco has an urbanization that covers almost all its surface area, making it the most densely populated country in the world and contributing to maintaining real estate prices that are among the highest in the world.

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Legal market overview

The Principality of Monaco’s close proximity to key EU markets, particularly neighbouring France, combines with its low tax environment to ensure it remains a significant hub for financial services. The country's Mediterranean coastline and illustrious casino also mark it as a significant tourism destination.

Monaco’s compact size (its total area spans 1.95 square kilometres) means land is scarce. The country recently began construction on its ambitious Portier Cove development; the €2bn project will reclaim a further 15 acres of land from the sea.

In line with the country’s signature strength in insurance and banking, finance and wealth management remain the twin mainstays at most law firms. Shipping and real estate are also significant sources of instructions.

The dominant law firms in the market are CMS Pasquier Ciulla Marquet & Pastor and Donald M. Manasse, Attorney at Law, which specialise in both private client and corporate work, as well as DL Corporate & Regulatory, Ince & Co and Law Offices of Jean-Charles S. Gardetto, which focus on corporate and commercial work.

Its close relationship with France, and a legal system that owes much to French law, means that there are many French-qualified lawyers practising in the principality. However, for those seeking to litigate in Monaco, only lawyers with Monégasque nationality are allowed to appear before the local courts.

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