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Au service de la profession d’huissier de justice dans le monde depuis 1952
At the Service of the Profession of Judicial Officer in the World since 1952
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HomeSéparateurFocusSéparateurAfricaSéparateurMauritiusSéparateurMeeting with the Minister for Justice of Mauritius
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Meeting with the Minister for Justice of Mauritius

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Jean-Pierre Michel, member of the French delegation of the UIHJ, went to Maurice on 24 September 2010 to meet Yatin Varma, Minister for justice.

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Many contacts with Mauritius

For many years, our fellow-member Jean-Pierre Michel, judicial officer in Saint-Denis (The Reunion), and member of the French delegation of the UIHJ, follows a particularly interesting situation for the Indian Ocean zone and concerning Mauritius: the project of change of the judicial officers of the Island towards a liberal statute. Following a cabinet reshuffle, Jean-Pierre Michel paid a visit to the representatives of the UIHJ in Mauritius, Anil Seewoonarain and Harold Iyempermal. The delegation was received on 24 September 2010 in Port-Louis by Mr. Varma and his assistant, Bobby Madhub, prosecutor.

The Republic of Maurice is a State in the Indian Ocean since its independence in 1968. Located at 250 Km of the island of The Reunion, its capital is Port-Louis.  Its economy rests primarily on financial and industrial sectors, but especially on tourism. Mauritius is a nerve centre between the countries of the zone (South Africa, India, and Asian Countries). Many offshore companies and banks are represented there. In the same way, the hotel investment is important. The existing Law is a subtle compromise between the French Civil Law (especially the Napoleonic code) and the Anglo-Saxon Common Law.
The island counts 54 judicial officers, all civil servants, divided between the nine existing districts. They are recruited by the “Public Service Commission” (PSC). The legal system breaks up as follows: district courts, an intermediate court and the Supreme Court which is the highest jurisdiction of the island. The judicial officers of the Supreme Court and the intermediate court can act on the whole of the island, while the districts judicial officers can only act within the jurisdiction of their district. Many civil servants judicial officers are not inevitably favorable to a change of their statute. It is the governmental will, but also that of some Mauritians judicial officers and especially that of the various Ministers for justice who followed one another which brought the National chamber of the judicial officers of France (NCJO) and the UIHJ to become interested in the development of a new statute of the judicial officer for Mauritius.

On several occasions at the request of Jean-Pierre Michel, representatives of the successive boards of the French chamber travelled to Mauritius. Bernard Menut, 1st vice-president of the UIHJ, paid several visits in the island, both as a representative of the CNHJ and the UIHJ. During a visit of the former president of the CNHJ, Guy Duvelleroy, in The Reunion, the French delegation had gone in the Island to meet our Mauritians fellow-members. France had then written some “Proposals for a statute of the liberal judicial officer of Mauritius”. A copy of this document was given by Jean-Pierre Michel to the Minister for justice.

The Governmental will to turn the statute of the Mauritian judicial officer to a liberal statute

At the time of the interview of 24 September, Harold Iyempermal made the usual presentations. Anil Seewoonarain recalled that the judicial officer became civil servant in Mauritius only since 1952. Before, his statute was thus liberal. Mr. Varma mentioned straight away “the governmental will to turn the statute of the Mauritian judicial officer to a liberal statute”. Jean-Pierre Michel evoked the various activities of the French judicial officer and pointed out the various financial advantages which a liberalization of the statute of the judicial officer would bring, not only for the judicial officers themselves but for the Mauritian government. Our fellow-member insisted on the training of the judicial officer in charge of the enforcement and also on an optimized and cost-effective service of justice, especially in the enforcement of legal decisions. He stressed that at European level, there is a trend towards a harmonization of the statute and the rules governing enforcement of legal decisions. Emphasis was put on the actions carried out by the UIHJ throughout the world, as on the number of countries which composes it, currently 73. He added that the action of the UIHJ at international level related to the idea to promote a model of the “French-Benelux” judicial officer. The UIHJ thus works, he continued, to help the countries to set up a liberal enforcement professional, with an adequate and sufficient legal training, but also to defend the interests of this profession and finally to contribute to its expansion and its perenniality worldwide.

An influential model for all the Indian Ocean

The Minister for justice however had some reservations concerning a brutal change of statute, many civil servants judicial officers being opposed to liberalization. He explained that, according to him, the two statutes of judicial officers would initially mix, those with a liberal statute and those who would remain civil servant. Harold Iyempermal conceded to him that the liberal statute could only be optional initially. The adoption of the liberal statute would be thus a choice for the judicial officers in exercise.

The Minister for justice insisted on the necessary modernization of the legal institution of Mauritius, with in mind to become an influential model on all the Indian Ocean. The Minister and Mr. Madhub announced that they were going to organize a conference, whose date remains to set, with all the representatives of the legal world of Mauritius: the Chief Judge and other judges, the members of the public prosecutor's Department, the solicitors, the notaries, the lawyers and naturally the judicial officers. He cordially invited the representatives of the UIHJ to take part in it.
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Yatin Varma, Minister for Justice of Mauritius, and Jean-Pierre Michel Member of the French Delegation of the UIHJ
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Jean-Pierre Michel with Harold Iyempermal and Anil Seewoonarain
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From L. to R. : Yatin Varma, Jean-Pierre Michel, Bobby Madhub, assistant of the minister for justice of Mauritius
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