Mauritius: BREXIT: Potential Legal Implications For Mauritius

Last Updated: 20 July 2016
Article by Marc Hein

As share prices plunged dramatically across the globe and the pound sterling reached a 30-year low last Friday 24 June, the world was made brutally aware of the results of the so-called "Brexit" referendum whereby the United Kingdom (UK) decided by a small majority of 51.9% to leave the European Union (EU). The next step in the formal process to withdraw from the EU would be for the UK government to serve notice on the EU under article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (the "EU Treaty"). The EU Treaty provides for a period of 2 years during which the terms of exit would be negotiated between the UK and the UK, unless a different date is agreed.

Mauritius has a number of treaties in place with the UK and a large number of them predate 1973 when the UK became a full-fledged number of the European Economic Community. Going further back in time, there were treaties in place between Mauritius and the UK dating from before our independence in 1968 and which were extended and continued after independence.

It is difficult at this stage to identify what the consequences of a Brexit would have on Mauritius as this would be largely determined by the terms of the exit deal agreed with the UK. A few of the exit options are: the UK remains part of the European Economic Area but not the EU (like Norway and Iceland), the UK joining the European Free Trade Association but remain outside of the EEA (such as Switzerland) or the UK could join a customs union (like Turkey). However, this article purports to highlight a few of the potential areas of concern from a Mauritius legal perspective:

1. International conventions between Mauritius and the EU

There are a number of sectors where our relationship with the UK is inextricably linked to an agreement with the EU. Such agreements would having a binding effect on the UK since it is currently a fully-fledged member of the EU. This includes, for instances, the Economic Partnership Agreement and the Fisheries Partnership Agreement. We will now have to see how such agreements with the UK will be "continued" (or not continued) bilaterally between the UK and Mauritius after the UK's exit from the EU.

There are other agreements which are entered directly between the UK and Mauritius, such as the double taxation treaty. Any such agreements will continue to exist as they operate irrespective of the UK's membership to the EU.

2. Visa Requirements

Another relevant issue to consider are visa requirements to enter the UK border. Currently the UK operates a visa exempt regime for Mauritian nationals wishing to visit the UK for tourism purposes; in principle a Brexit should not have any direct impact on this regime as this has been agreed outside the EU framework. However, given that one of the main reasons for Brexit was concerns over the UK's immigration policies, we cannot rule out the risk that the UK may review all its immigration laws and visa regime with all countries, including Mauritius.

3. UK Privy Council

It will be interesting to follow the stance of the Privy Council in its interpretation of our laws. The House of Lords, in its judicial capacity, has been subject to the European Court of Justice. It may well be that, following a Brexit, the Supreme Court of England & Wales, will no longer be subject to appeal to the European Court of Justice. Over the years, our Privy Council (which is often constituted of the Law Lords, members of the House of Lords) was much influenced by the European Court of Justice. All of this did influence our decision and case law in Mauritius as regards enlarging the rights of citizens on matters such as the right to a fair hearing or a fair trial before local courts. We do not expect a change within the Privy Council in the way it judges cases on appeal from Mauritius. In addition, a substantial portion of the case law developed in that area relates to the European Convention on Human Rights which has a supra-national court, the European Court of Human Rights. The Convention has been established by the Council of Europe, which operates independently from the EU, albeit that there may be some areas of overlap. Ultimately, it will depend on of the terms of the exit deal and what agreements the UK will be party to.

4. English law as the governing law of international transactions

Another important issue is the power of English law (technically the laws of England & Wales) and common law worldwide. Although large parts of the world namely: Latin America, Russia, China, part of Africa and of continental Europe follow civil law concepts, English common law is still very strong specially in the field of international business law. Geographically, English law is predominant in a vast majority of international contracts from Sydney, Singapore, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Dubai to Kenya and South Africa. Within Europe, the city of London is a significant hub and as regards the Americas, transactions involving New York, Chicago or Silicon Valley will tend to follow Anglo Saxon common law. The geographical repartition of power keeps English law high up on the global scale.

A huge part of "offshore" business comes from Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Bermuda, British Virgin and their business interlinked with the city of London. The power of such a network should not be underestimated.

5. Commonwealth of Nations

Let's not forget what remains of the British Commonwealth with its 53 Member States! Should Scotland leave the UK and Northern Ireland be reunified with the Republic of Ireland, this may open the door for jurisdictions like Canada, Australia or New Zealand to enter into various types of economic agreements with the UK. Conversely, other jurisdictions, such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, which are currently British overseas territories may aspire to become independent like Mauritius but remain a member of the British Commonwealth.

Download PDF – l'express, 05.07.16, Page 8

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions