The legal profession in Mauritius is split into that of barristers, attorneys and notaries. Many barristers and attorneys undertake their training in the United Kingdom or France before qualifying to practise in Mauritius. The Centre for Professional Legal Studies at the University of Mauritius and the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies provide the required training locally.
Since the coming into operation of the Law Practitioner’s (Amendment) Act 2011 on September 3, 2012, a citizen of Mauritius who has obtained a professional qualification as or equivalent to that of, barrister in another Commonwealth country or the United States or France can apply for admission to the bar. However, the prospective barristers will need to follow a course run by the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies (IJLS) either during their pupillage or before taking the oath.
The Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies
The IJLS is set up under the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies Act 2011. One of the objectives of the IJLS is to foster continuing judicial and legal education. Every barrister, attorney and notary must follow the CPD courses organized by the IJLS for not less than 12 hours during every year. It is to be noted that out of the 12 compulsory CPD hours, at least 2 CPD hours must be obtained for courses on ethics and professional responsibility. A yearly fee for the CPD courses must be paid to the IJLS.
Centre for Professional Legal Studies, University of Mauritius
Since 15 November 2012, the Centre for Professional Legal Studies which is under the aegis of the University of Mauritius is responsible for conducting the professional training of future Barristers, Attorneys and Notaries. After completion of the Law Practitioners Vocational Course (LPVC), students will obtain a Certificate of Attendance from the University of Mauritius and be able to take part in the vocational examinations conducted by the Council for Vocational Legal Education in order to be qualified as a barrister, attorney or notary.
Local practitioners can practice via local or joint-venture law firms. The amendment to the Law Practitioners Act in 2008 which came into operation on the 15th December 2008 enables the various branches of the profession: attorneys, barristers and notaries to work together under one legal entity (a law firm) thus enabling foreign law firms to access the local market through joint law ventures or partnerships with such domestic law firms. Foreign lawyers can also work in Mauritius, upon registration at the Attorney General’s Office, by providing legal services, within a domestic law firm, a foreign law firm or a joint law venture. They can only provide legal services in relation to foreign law or international law, arbitration, mediation and conciliation and may advise on the effect of a Mauritian law. However, they do not have rights of audience in the Mauritian courts.