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Introduction to the Supreme Court of Mauritius



About the Supreme Court


The Supreme Court is composed of the Chief Justice, the Senior Puisne Judge and fourteen Puisne Judges.  The Judges are also Judges of the Court of Criminal Appeal and the Court of Civil Appeal. It is the highest judicial authority in the country and is vested with all the powers and jurisdiction necessary to administer the laws of Mauritius.  It is a superior Court of Record and has unlimited jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil and criminal proceedings and has the same original jurisdiction as the High Court in England.  It is vested with all the necessary powers and authority to exercise its equitable jurisdiction as a Court of Equity.  The Supreme Court also exercises supervisory jurisdiction over the subordinate Courts in order to ensure that justice is duly administered by any such Court.  The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction to determine whether any provision of the Constitution has been contravened, including the power to determine whether any law made by Parliament is void on the ground that it contravenes any of the provisions of the Constitution.  It is also empowered to secure the enforcement of the protective provisions entrenched in the Constitution. The retiring age of the Judges is 67 and 65 for the Magistrates.


Contact Information


About Our Judiciary

Location of the various courts

The Judiciary in Mauritius is one of the three organs of a sovereign democratic state and is, by virtue of the Constitution, vested with the power and responsibility to administer justice in the Republic of Mauritius.  The Constitution provides for the institution of an independent judiciary which is based on the concept of separation of powers.  This is a vital element for the functioning of the democratic system of government in order to uphold the rule of law and afford the necessary protection for the safeguard of the fundamental rights of the citizens of Mauritius.  The Chief Justice is the head of the Judiciary.

THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM

Mauritius has a single-structured judicial system consisting of two parts- the Supreme Court and the subordinate Courts.  The subordinate Courts consist of the Court of Rodrigues, the District Courts, the Intermediate Court and the Industrial Court whilst the Supreme Court has various divisions exercising jurisdiction as the Bankruptcy Court, the Court of first instance in civil and criminal matters, the Court of Appeal (to hear and determine civil and criminal appeals from the decisions of the subordinate Courts), the Court of Civil Appeal and the Court of Criminal Appeal (to hear and determine appeals from the decisions of the Supreme Court sitting as Court of first instance).

The final appeal from decisions of the Court of Appeal of Mauritius to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London as provided for under our Constitution. The judicature

  • Population of Country: 1 200 000

  • Supreme Court: 12 Judges including the Chief Justice

  • Subordinate Court: 40 Magistrates

  • Salaries and Benefits:

    Supreme Court

    Subordinate Court

    Salary

    Rs 150000 to Rs 120000 Rs 30000 - Rs 87500

    House/Housing Allowance

    Yes No

    Free Telephone

    Yes Yes

    Free Electricity

    No No

    Housing and Property Loans and Grants

    No No

    Income Tax

    Yes Yes

    Expense Allowance

    No No

    Car Allowance

    Yes Yes

    Driver Allowance

    Yes No

    Fuel Allowance

    Yes Yes

    Special Judicial Allowance

    Yes Yes

    Appeal Allowance

    No No

    Conveyance Allowance if no vehicle provided

    No No

    Cost of Living Allowance

    No No

    Pension

    Yes Yes

    Medical

    No No

    Servant

    No No

    Security 

    For the CJ only No
  • Methodology of Determining Judicial Salaries: By the Pay Research Bureau

  • Method of Judicial Appointment: Judicial and Legal Service Commission Regulations, 1967

Supreme Court Objectives

The Judiciary in Mauritius is one of the three organs of a sovereign democratic state and is, by virtue of the Constitution, vested with the power and responsibility to administer justice in the Republic of Mauritius.  The Constitution provides for the institution of an independent judiciary which is based on the concept of separation of powers.  This is a vital element for the functioning of the democratic system of government in order to uphold the rule of law and afford the necessary protection for the safeguard of the fundamental rights of the citizens of Mauritius.  The Chief Justice is the head of the Judiciary


Training and Support Staff


There is no formal programme.  Support staff consists of Court Officers; Ushers; Clerical Staff and Police Officers attached to each Court.  However, Court Officers attend diploma courses at the University of Mauritius or the University of Technology.


Supreme Court Standards


The Guidelines for Judicial Conduct are based on the universally accepted norms, rules and principles which govern the conduct of members of the Judiciary.  They are meant to serve as a guide for the ethical conduct of Judges and Magistrates and to preserve the honour, integrity and independence of the Judiciary. They are designed to provide guidance to Judges and to afford a structure for regulating Judicial conduct.  They are intended to supplement, and not to derogate from, existing principles which bind the Judge.

The values which these guidelines uphold are:

  • propriety;

  • independence;

  • integrity;

  • impartiality;

  • equality; and

  • competence and diligence.


Functions and Supporting Organizational Structure

The Supreme Court exercising jurisdiction as the Court of Original Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction

Civil Cases

The Supreme Court has original civil jurisdiction to hear and determine:

  • any civil matter, although it will generally deal with matters where the value of the subject-matter of the claim is more than Rs 500,000;

  • divorce and matrimonial cases;

  • company winding-up & bankruptcy proceedings;

  • admiralty matter; and

  • claims for constitutional reliefs.

Every case is heard and disposed of before a single Judge, unless otherwise provided for under any written law or as may be decided by the Chief Justice.

Criminal Cases

The Supreme Court is the principal Court of criminal jurisdiction.  Criminal trials before the Supreme Court are either held before a Presiding Judge and a jury consisting of 9 persons who are qualified to serve as jurors or before a Presiding Judge without a jury.  Offences laid down under the Criminal Code falling under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Supreme Court are tried at the Assizes sessions before a Presiding Judge and a jury whereas offences as specified in the Fifth Schedule to the Criminal Procedure Act are tried before a Presiding Judge without a jury.  In the exercise of its criminal jurisdictions, the Supreme Court is empowered to inflict life imprisonment for certain serious offences.
Since January 2008, two courts are dedicated to deal with criminal cases everyday.

The Supreme Court exercising appellate Jurisdiction

The Supreme Court has full power and jurisdiction to hear and determine all appeals, whether civil or criminal, made to the Court from the decisions of:

  • the Judge in Chambers;

  • the Bankruptcy Division of the Supreme Court;

  • the Master's Court;

  • the Intermediate Court;

  • the Industrial Court;

  • the District Court; and

  • any other tribunal or body under any other enactment.

Except as otherwise expressly provided for in any other enactment, appeals to the Supreme Court are heard before at least two judges.

 

Family Division

Two courts are dealing exclusively with matrimonial matters as from January 2008.

 

 

The Supreme Court exercising jurisdiction as the Court of Civil Appeal

The Court of Civil Appeal is a division of the Supreme Court.  It hears and determines all appeals from the decisions of the Supreme Court sitting as Court of first instance in civil proceedings.  It is constituted by two or three Judges as the Chief Justice may decide.  The Chief Justice, or where he is absent, or is for any reason unable to sit on the Court of Civil Appeal, the Senior Puisne Judge, presides over the Court of Civil Appeal.  All the Judges of the Supreme Court are also Judges of the Court of Civil Appeal.

The Supreme Court exercising jurisdiction as the Court of Civil Appeal

The Court of Criminal Appeal consists of three Judges and has full power to hear and determine all appeals from the decisions of the Supreme Court as Court of first instance in criminal proceedings.  The Chief Justice and, in his absence, the Senior Puisne Judge, presides over the Court of Criminal Appeal.  All the Judges of the Supreme Court are also Judges of the Court of Civil Appeal.

 

The Supreme Court exercising jurisdiction as the Commercial Court

The Commercial Division of the Supreme Court has jurisdiction to deal with all matters of bankruptcy,  insolvency, matters arising out of the Companies Act; banking, insurance, bills of exchange, offshore, Industrial Property, Patents and dispute between traders in relation to dispute of commercial nature.  There are two judges to hear the Commercial Court cases.

The Master's Court

The Master's Court is presided by the Master and Registrar and the Deputy Master and Registrar.  It is responsible for the conduct and management of judicial sales and deals with all matters relating to proceedings in Division in Kind.

The Supreme Court Organization Chart


Budget / Sources of Funding

Sources:  Annual Budget of Government ?Consolidated Fund established by section 103 of the Constitution of the Republic of Mauritius

Recurrent Budget for the year 2006/2007:   Rs 181 664 000/.

Estimates for the year 2007/2008:   Rs 191 361 000/.


Annual Reports