The Legal Profession
The legal profession of the Republic of Mauritius consists of attorneys, barristers and notaries. No person shall be entitled to provide legal services in the jurisdiction of the Republic of Mauritius unless his/her name has been entered on the Roll as a barrister, an attorney or notary and that he/she is a member: -
- in the case of the barrister, of the Mauritius Bar Council;
- in the case of an attorney, of the Mauritius Law Society;
- in the case of a notary, of the Association of Notaries; or
- if he/she is a foreign lawyer duly registered in his/her home jurisdiction and practicing as such in either a law firm, foreign firm or a joint law venture.
Note: It is an offence for someone to hold himself/herself as a legal practitioner when he/she is not a member of the bodies listed above.
Requirements to be admitted as a Legal Practitioner in Mauritius
Any citizen of the Republic of Mauritius may apply for admission to practice law in Mauritius provided that he/she: -
- in the case of a prospective barrister educated in a State other than Mauritius to hold a professional qualification entitling him/her to be admitted to practice law in any of the following countries: - England and Wales, France, Australia, Canada or New Zealand;
- in the case of any other prospective barrister or attorney, to have been awarded a law degree and having successfully completed the vocational course conducted by the Council of Legal Education;
- in the case of a prospective notary, to have been awarded a law degree, having successfully completed the vocational course conducted by the Council of Legal Education and been authorised by the Prime Minister, after consultation with the Attorney General to apply for admission;
- the prospective barrister, attorney and notary should also undergo pupillage (legal training). The prospective barrister additionally needs to follow a prescribed course delivered by the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies (IJLS); and
- the prospective barrister, attorney and notary should be of good character (a clean judicial record).
The prospective barrister has the option to educate himself/herself either in the Republic of Mauritius or abroad but however for the prospective attorney and the notary it is compulsory for him/her to sit for the examinations of the Council of Legal Education of Mauritius. (professional exams)
Foreign Lawyer in Mauritius
Foreign Lawyers are also entitled to work in Mauritius if he/she is duly registered with the office of the Attorney General. The foreign lawyer’s scope of practice is limited in as much as he/she: -
- can only provide legal services within a domestic law firm, foreign law firm or a joint law venture;
- the legal services are limited only in relation to International law and Alternative Dispute Resolution and on the possible impact of Mauritian Law in an International context but not on Mauritian Law in itself; and
- the foreign lawyer does not have have rights of audience in the Mauritian Courts, but a foreign lawyer can be granted rights of audience if the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Mauritius accedes to his/her request.
Access to Legal Representation
There are ample qualified barristers, attorneys and notaries in the Republic of Mauritius. The main reason why people often do not have access to legal representation is because of the cost involved. Legal fees are reasonable for a person of means, but they may be out of reach for the average Mauritian.
What to do if you cannot afford Legal Representation?
There are several ways of having access to legal representation in Mauritius if a citizen cannot afford the cost it entails and some of them are listed below ( non exhaustive):-
- the Legal Aid Unit of the judiciary;
- legal clinics attached to Non-Governmental Organisations; or
- the good will of a legal practitioner to help a someone in hardship.
Complaints about a Legal Practitioner
There are bodies in Mauritius that are committed to protect the public against unprofessional, dishonest and irresponsible legal practitioner.The Legal profession is indeed proud of its high standards and good repute as all legal practitioners are bound by a professional code but however this does not mean that issues cannot arise between clients and legal practitioners.
In any cases where a client feels aggrieved by the services, conduct or any act of dishonesty of any legal practitioner, he/she should report the case to:
- in the case of a barrister to the Mauritius Bar Council (4th Floor Max City Building, Pope Hennessy Street, Port-Louis);
- in the case of an attorney to the Mauritius Law Society (6th Floor, 604, Sterling Tower, Poudriere Street, Port Louis); and
- in the case of a notary to the Chambres des Notaires de L’ile Maurice (PCL Building 43, William Newton Street, Port-Louis).