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Mauritius: Clearing confusion in arbitration

A number of important refinements have been brought to the area of dispute resolution in 2013 to further cement the position of Mauritius as a venue for adjudicating international disputes.

In particular, the 2013 amendments have cleared the confusion of having two separate regimes for the recognition and enforcement in the statute books by repealing the provisions on the recognition and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards contained in the Code of Civil Procedure. The amendments clarify that foreign arbitral awards will be governed by the provisions of the International Arbitration Act 2008 (IAA) and the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards Act 2001 (CREFAA). It further removes the requirement previously found in the Code of Civil Procedure of reciprocity in the country where the award was delivered.

A new system of designated judges has also been introduced, with six judges designated for a period of five years by the Chief Justice; they will be the only judges to hear applications under the IAA and CREFAA. Applications for interim measures under the IAA before the Supreme Court are initially to be made before a single designated judge, but will be returnable before a panel of three designated judges including the designated judge who made the initial determination.

In order to preserve the confidentiality of arbitration proceedings, the designated judges may exclude any person other than the parties and their legal representatives to attend the court proceedings and restrict the publication of information relating to the court proceedings.

Further, witness statements can now be used as a method of adducing evidence in proceedings before the Supreme Court under the IAA and CREFAA. A witness statement only needs to be verified by a statement of truth by the witness. This seems to indicate that witness statements sworn abroad would not need to be subject to the cumbersome process of apostille before being admissible as evidence before the Supreme Court.

Mushtaq Namdarkhan

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