Mauritius has been seeking to establish itself as a centre for international arbitration for several years. To achieve this, the Government of Mauritius has taken major strides to make Mauritius an attractive venue where international arbitrations can be legally based and hearings can be held. Among other steps, Mauritius has enacted a unique, supportive law on arbitration, and established, with support from the London Court of International Arbitration, the LCIA-MIAC Arbitration Centre. LCIA-MIAC is a specialist, independent, neutral centre for administering international arbitration proceedings. Arbitration is the preferred dispute resolution mechanism for international businesses because it offers a neutral, efficient process and the decisions of arbitrators can be enforced internationally.

The Mauritius International Arbitration legislation allows Global Business Companies (GBCs) to include arbitration clauses in their constitutions. GBCs are Mauritian companies doing international business, which must hold a Global Business Licence (GBL) issued by the Mauritius Financial Services Commission (FSC).

The FSC issues a Guide to Global Business, which sets out the requirements which must be satisfied before the FSC will grant a GBL.

With effect from 1 January 2015, the FSC has issued an amended chapter 4 of the Guide, which for the first time brings recognition of the venue for arbitration into the regulation of GBCs. The matters affecting the FSC’s decision on whether to grant a GBL have been divided into two sections: compulsory matters, and a checklist of matters from which the company should satisfy at least one.

The matters in the checklist, one of which must be satisfied are: (i) the corporation has or shall have office premises in Mauritius; (ii) the corporation employs or shall employ on a full-time, basis at administrative/technical level, at least one person who shall be resident in Mauritius; (iii) the corporation’s constitution contains a clause whereby all disputes arising out of the constitution shall be resolved by way of arbitration in Mauritius; (iv) the corporation holds or is expected to hold within the next 12 months, assets (excluding cash held in bank account or shares/interests in another corporation holding a GBL) which are worth at least US$100,000 in Mauritius; (v) the corporation’s shares are listed on a securities exchange licensed by the Commission; and (iv) it has or is expected to have a yearly expenditure in Mauritius which can be reasonably expected from any similar corporation which is controlled and managed from Mauritius.

Apr-Jun 2015 issue

LCIA-MIAC Arbitration Centre