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Tropical Island Near Africa May Soon Allow Foreign Practice

Posted May 1, 2008 10:29 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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For American lawyers and others who may wish to consider practicing in the Republic of Mauritius, a lengthy editorial in a local newspaper provides a detailed description of the lay of the land.

While it isn't yet legal for outsiders to do so, the writer of the L'Express editorial today seems to view legislation authorizing the licensing of foreign attorneys to form law partnerships in Mauritius as inevitable—albeit a less-than-desirable development.

The writer, Marc Hein, is not entirely opposed to the concept of foreign lawyers becoming involved in local law practice on the tropical island in the Indian Ocean, east of Africa's coastline (where English, French, Creole, Hindi, Urdu, Hakka and Bhojpuri are the languages spoken, according to National Geographic). However, he is concerned that, unless sufficiently regulated, foreign law firms will not operate in the country's best interest and could potentially create embarrassing problems.

"I have often preached the example of jurisdictions similar to ours, the best one being Bermuda, where local law firms emerged, became successful and employed foreign lawyers for expertise needed and indeed expanded elsewhere," he writes. "We are proposed the other way round here, namely, that foreign law firms should establish themselves in Mauritius and employ Mauritians for the transfer of knowledge and expertise."

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