The Legal 500 > Europe, Middle East & Africa > Mauritius

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Legal Market Overview

In 2020, Mauritius was identified by the European Commission as a high-risk country and is yet to be removed as a high-risk country by the Financial Action Task Force, but firms remain optimistic that Mauritius will be removed in 2022. The hospitality and tourism industries, which are key to Mauritius, suffered due to the pandemic have continued to struggle and investors are now more cautious which has impacted the banking and finance markets; Mauritius being particularly notable for its strong connections to both mainland Africa and India, and is one of the few states to have a tax treaty with the latter.

With work in Mauritius still not as plentiful as it has been in recent years, clients have become more price-sensitive when choosing a firm. Despite this, an increase in work has been reported in 2021 compared to the previous year as companies have refinanced and temporary measures have been enforced to safeguard the liquidity of various companies in Mauritius since the pandemic.

Mauritius has historical connections to both France and the United Kingdom, with the latter bequeathing it a common law-based system – despite becoming a republic in 1992, Mauritius retains appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the alternate guise of the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court. Legislation requiring one to be a Mauritian citizen to become a locally-qualified lawyer keeps a talented Bar active, although the small but steady flow of cases reaching the Privy Council are often complex matters, with local talent being augmented by elite London practitioners, some of whom with connections to Mauritius if not dual admission.

Both law firms and sets of barristers chambers are present in the market, but in recent years practices which operated as chambers have increasingly begun to register as firms. Another development in the market is the increasing specialism between litigators and transactional lawyers rather than more generalist practices (nothing that the Mauritian Bar’s work includes some non-contentious work); litigation teams are also increasingly comprising both attorneys (as those analogous to solicitors are known) and barristers, which rarely used to rarely be seen. Both chambers and firms are featured in this table owing to this flexibility in structure, the differences in their modi operandi notwithstanding.