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Monaco

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Editorial

Monaco at a glance

Contributed by PCM Avocats

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 38,400 inhabitants (among which approximately 8,000 are Monaco nationals) and a density of around 19,000 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

Monaco comprises a mix of domestic and international law firms, generally handling a range of commercial, real estate, shipping and private client matters. Proximity to 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.

The legal market has seen a considerable decline in banking work, as international banks have been leaving the principality. However, there has been notable growth in the shipping industry, with numerous shipping companies and Greek shipping magnates having recently established themselves in Monaco for tax reasons. This explains the presence of Ince & Co, which is handling English law shipping and energy matters. For more general commercial mandates, there are several highly rated firms providing domestic and cross-border advice, including Law Offices of Jean-Charles S. Gardetto, Donald Manasse Law Offices and PCM Avocats. The latter two firms are also well equipped to handle private client advice – including tax, trusts and estate planning, and family law – for high-net-worth individuals.

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