Mauritius has a ‘hybrid’ legal system; combining both the civil and common law practices. Its legal system is governed by principles derived both from the French Code Napoleon and the British common law. The Supreme Court of Mauritius is the superior court of the island, having unlimited jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil or criminal proceedings under any law other than a disciplinary law and such jurisdiction and powers as may be conferred upon it by the Constitution or any other law. Mauritius has, after acceding to the status of republic, retained the right of appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which remains the highest appellate court of the country.
In the past ten years, the legal framework of Mauritius has seen dramatic changes as far as commercial legislation is concerned. Commercial activities are now regimented by targeted, incisive and comprehensive legislations which cater for the regulation and promulgation of commercial activities both onshore and offshore. To cite but a few examples, the Companies Act 2001 and the Securities Act 2005 which are inspired from their New Zealand counterparts, the Financial Services Act 2007 and the Insolvency Act 2009 have been promulgated to make Mauritius the jurisdiction of choice for potential investors.
The Law Practitioners’ Act 1984 was also recently amended to enable local practitioners to practice via local and joint-venture law firms – a measure which has ensured that potential investors and service providers in the financial services and commercial sectors receive specialist legal support.