Solicitors governing body: Attorney General’s Office
Competition authority: Competition Commission of Mauritius
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
The legal system of Mauritius is a mixture of civil and common law due to the colonial legacy left by France and the UK. Alongside the Mauritian civil codes, the country’s courts utilise common law and often follow established English law precedent.
The country has established a range of tax treaties with various countries and has a growing financial sector, this has allowed it to gain a reputation as a staging post for investment into Africa, particularly from India and China. As the country has no capital gains tax, there is an obvious benefit for companies incorporating in Mauritius and taking advantage of these treaties.
There is no distinct split between firms of solicitors (attorneys) and barrister’s chambers and therefore most entities in the market carry out a range of commercial and criminal legal work. The country’s legal services market was liberalised in 2008 by an amendment to the Law Practitioners Act, which introduced the concept of attorneys, barristers and notaries forming combined ‘firms’. The act also opened the market for foreign law firms to establish offices or joint ventures with local firms and allowed foreign lawyers to join and practice at local firms.
Though the market is still largely made up of local firms, a handful of offshore firms such as Appleby, Bedell Cristin and Conyers Dill & Pearman have opened small offices on the island picking up roles on Africa related M&A, finance and investment fund work. Despite the jurisdictions obvious advantages as an offshore centre for African investment, few in the market believe that many other international firms will open dedicated offices in the near future.
Where there may be potential growth is through the establishment of bases or alliances for Pan-African networks, with the likes of DLA Piper, ENSafrica and Africa Legal Network already present on the ground.
Appleby is one of the leading global offshore firms with a wide network and one of the few with an office in Mauritius. The firm also runs its Seychelles practice from the island.
In banking a clear highlight saw the firm advise the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) regarding a loan granted to a private school.
In capital markets on the debt side a standout deal saw the firm advise the trustees and agents on a high yield notes issue by Greenko. The firm also advised UPL and Neerg Energy on notes issues.
In M&A the firm advised MakeMyTrip on its acquisition by Ibibo.
Staffing changes during the research period include the hire of senior associate Melissa Virasawmy.
"Very dedicated and hardworking, always helpful, take care of all the requirements." – Project finance
“The lawyer was very dedicated to her work, very hardworking and had complete knowledge about the issue.”
Balgobin Chambers Mauritius is traditionally known as a litigation firm and in recent years has gained a reputation for transactional work.
In the past year the firm advised on fund structuring, loan securitisation, corporate share disposals and restructuring in real estate, automobile, mining and insurance industries.
Benoit Chambers has been active across banking and finance and M&A during the research period.
In banking and finance the firm acted on financings in the education, energy and hospitality sectors.
In M&A highlight deals include work for Nereide on the sale of the Tamassa Hotel.
Key clients include the likes of Barclays, China National Nuclear Corporation and VF Worldwide Holdings.
“Best in their market, consciously outward looking and seeking to attain international standards, great exposure to London and other financial centre firms and clients.” – Corporate
“Depth of corporate law knowledge.”
BLC Robert & Associates was active in banking and M&A space and also picked up work in restructuring. The firm was active in the energy sector.
In banking deal highlights include work for Amandi Energy on its financing, the firm also advised on a trade financing facility for the export and trading of food commodities.
In capital markets the firm advised Midwestern Leon Petroleum on a notes issue.
The corporate team advised on a sale of shares, an intra-group re-organisation and acquisitions in various industries.
“Very good quality.” – Project finance
“Knowledge of corporate law and project finance structures, highly dependable and efficient.” – Corporate
“Very professional and knowledgeable.”
Jean Eric Sauzier
“Knowledgeable, efficient, dependable.”
Conyers Dill & Pearman is part of the offshore firm’s global network which includes offices across the Caribbean and Asia. In Mauritius it advises on corporate, banking and finance and investment funds law.
Like all Mauritian firms the firm focuses on investment into the African and Asian markets working with holding companies in Mauritius.
Its project development work included financing arrangements and capital markets transactions such as Agrifos’ exchange of its Senegalese Baobab project for a stake in ASX-listed Minemakers.
Its clients include the International Finance Corporation and The International and Commercial Bank of China.
ENSafrica has one of the widest networks of any African firm with offices across Southern, West and East Africa.
Deal highlights include work on the merger ENL Investment and ENL Land, work for Sanlam Group on the acquisition of a 30% stake in Saham Finances. The firm was also active on real estate and investment fund matters during the research period.
The only staffing change during the research period was the addition of Gerard de Froberville to the team.
“The quality of advice and work in terms of the knowledge of the barrister as well as the research undertaken by the latter has been satisfactory. The availability of the barristers and their commitment to provide timely responses are also a strength of the firm.” – Competition
“Sauzier's level of expertise and experience contribute to our high level of trust in his advice in our legal matters. “
Juristconsult has a strong M&A practice and is a member of the DLA Piper Africa Group.
In the corporate space the firm advised on share issues, a share purchase agreement and strategic partnerships in the oil and gas, telecom and energy sectors.
Key clients include the likes of Plastic Investment International, PLUM and Sancus Capital Prive Holdings.
“Excellent, they are smart and responsive, a real pleasure to deal with.” – M&A
Mardemootoo Solicitors sustains its position in the market in both litigation and corporate advisory.
In banking the firm advised on credit facilities, derivative transactions and project financing for the likes of Maubank, SBM Bank and YES Bank
The firm also advised on a number of restructurings.
Staffing changes include the hires of Sharvan Mooneesawmy from BLC Robert & Associates and Manika Ramsurrun from Deutsche Bank.
YKJ Legal is the new form of the former Bedell Cristin team in Mauritius.
In the financial and corporate space the firm advised on acquisitions, a revolving facility, credit facility, a senior notes issue, fund formation and a share sale and purchase agreement.
Key clients include China Development Bank, Ethos Capital, Greenko Group and Standard Chartered.
“The lead partner Yuvraj is well experienced in the global business arena and hence it is easy to discuss matters as he understands the legal and regulatory framework.” – Private equity
"Accessibility of the partners, knowledge and experience of the partners in the industry, high quality legal advice." – Private equity
“Pro-activeness, subject matter expert.” – Private equity
“Attention to detail.”
“Excellent service and technical ability.”
“Subject matter expert.”