In the legal system of Mauritius the Supreme Court is the highest court and is composed of the Court of Civil Appeal and the Court of Criminal Appeal, with a chief justice, a senior judge and 17 judges. They have unlimited jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil or criminal proceedings, and it has original jurisdiction in the interpretation of the constitution, and in the most serious criminal cases, when it sits with judge and jury.
The Intermediate Court and District Court are both magistrates’ courts located throughout the island with jurisdiction in civil and criminal cases. The Industrial (magistrates’) Court deals with employment issues. Appeals from lower courts are heard in the Civil or Criminal (Supreme) Appeal Court. The Privy Council in the UK is the final court of appeal.
The Republic of Mauritius acquired its autonomy from Great Britain in 1968 and became a republic in 1992, however Mauritius remains a member of the Commonwealth.
Due to its colonial roots, Mauritius acquired a unique legal structure that is a hybrid based system combining the French Napoleonic Code, with civil and criminal court proceedings modelled on British practice. This system resulted from the British concession to leave the French laws intact when they took possession of the island, but as English judges preferred to use the English court procedures with which they were more familiar, over time, English laws gradually grafted themselves onto French laws, and superseded some.