Mauritius has a well-developed framework for the regulation and practice of foreign and international law in Mauritius, further to the amendment of the Law Practitioners Act in December 2008, which enabled law firms to establish local offices or joint ventures in Mauritius. Mauritius also benefits from having a strong and independent judiciary, and a hybrid legal system based on English and French law, with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London being the highest Court of Appeal. It is considered as a neutral and impartial jurisdiction.
The position of Mauritius as a leading financial services and legal centre for the region will be reinforced by the introduction of the Global Legal Advisory Services licence, a new category of licence introduced in 2016, which has been introduced in the Financial Services Act 2007 for foreign law firms who wish to provide legal services in Mauritius pertaining to global business, international arbitration, corporate law, taxation law, international law and foreign law. These foreign law firms will be required to set up an entity in Mauritius to hold the Global Legal Advisory Services licence subject to meeting certain requirements, and will be regulated by the Financial Services Commission.
Mauritius is also extremely well placed to establish itself as a centre of excellence for international arbitration in the region, with a view to providing investors with a fast, effective and confidential out-of-court mechanism to resolve commercial disputes. Mauritius adopted its International Arbitration Act in 2008, amended in 2013, which provides a tailor-made mechanism for the incorporation of arbitration clauses in the constitution of Global Business companies based in Mauritius. Investors can also benefit from the availability of a pool of international arbitrators to settle disputes.
Mauritius has entered into a Host Country Agreement with the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) and this was the first time in history that an agreement of the kind was made for a Permanent Representative outside the Hague. Furthermore, in 2011, the Government of Mauritius entered into a joint venture with the LCIA in London to establish the LCIA-MIAC Arbitration Centre, which is a neutral, independent arbitral institution.
In terms of reinforcing the role of Mauritius on the international stage, in 2015 Mauritius hosted the signing ceremony of the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration, known as the Mauritius Convention on Transparency. Most recently, in 2016, Mauritius hosted the 23rd ICCA Congress, which was the first time that the Congress had been held in Africa and attracted 850 delegates from more than 40 countries.