Welcome to the website of the Bar Association of Seychelles. One of the key aims of the Bar Association is to encourage the dissemination of information on legal subjects. In this website you will find a wealth of information on the Seychelles Legal Scene.
To learn more about the Bar Association or to contact the Bar Association, please refer to the About Us page.
If you are interested in engaging the services of a Seychelles lawyer or to verify the status of one, please refer to the Attorneys-at-Law & Notaries page.
If you are interested in updating your Membership or becoming an Associate Member, please refer to the Membership page.
NOTICE: The Bar Association of Seychelles has received reports that there are organizations passing themselves off as Seychelles Law Firms and individuals passing themselves off as Seychelles Lawyers. Please note that complete lists of all practicing Attorneys-at-Law, Notaries and Law Firms are available on this website. If you are dealing with any individual or organization that is not in our lists, please report these individuals or query their status to the Bar Association of Seychelles and the Registrar of the Supreme Court.
Interview with Anita Gardiner
1. Please give a short introduction of yourself.
My name is Anita Gardner, chairperson of the association of people with hearing impairment(APHI) I founded the Association in 2005. Our main objective is to fight for the deaf community in Seychelles.
2. Why did the Deaf Association start the Interpreters service?
The sign language and deaf mediator service was launched in 2013 in line with the UN Convention of Persons with Disabilities which was signed by government. (article 9 accessibility, and article 13 access to the justice department.)
3. How many interpreters do you have available?
There are 4 interpreters and 2 deaf mediators
4. You’ve mentioned it is an interpreter and mediator service, what is the mediator service?
The interpreter may time to time work with a deaf mediator if the deaf client is not using the formal sign language. It is very important that the interpreters meet the client prior to court proceedings as they need to establish which communications means they will use.
Most developed countries have huge population of Deaf people thus Interpreters and mediators are in high demand so most are working in the field full time. Seychelles has a small Deaf population (about 600) therefore working full time is not viable. The interpreters and mediators are currently working other jobs. Service providers should take this into account when scheduling an interpreter or a deaf mediator thus it will be necessary to give them sufficient time to prepare especially those who will need to seek their respective employer’s approval and release.
6. Who will pay for this service?
The service should be free for the Deaf people. The service providers will pay a fee.
7. What if we are dissatisfied with the service, is there any recourse?
The service providers and Deaf clients will be able to file complaints through the complaint forms which will be addressed to the complaints committee.
8. How many times has the service been used by the judiciary? Since its launching of the service, the service has been used once.
Sign language interpreters will seek further training to maintain and provide high quality service.
10. Who do we call? How do we get access to this service ?
For the time being the service is run by the Association. The interpreter service may be contacted on 2749791/4610378
The Bar Association of Seychelles ("BAS") held its 2014 Annual General Meeting at the Palaise de Justice on the 31st October 2014.
In his report, the President of BAS, Mr Antony Derjacques stated that BAS has been active throughout the year and has been constantly lobbying the Government, Judiciary and foreign organisations for positive changes and developments for the bar. He stated that he has been active with the Pan African Lawyers Union ("PALU") in increasing the mandate of the African Court of Human Rights, that he has visited Cameroon and Tanzania to that effect. He mentioned that BAS continues to improve and increase its relationship base with foreign organisations, mentioning recent developments with the Indian Bar Association, the China Law Society not to mention PALU and SADC. He mentioned that BAS has also been active in the local scene being involved in many local committees and frequently consulted by local organizations.
Disappointment was expressed about the Constitutional Appointment Authority's refusal to propose a judge from local experienced legal practitioners.
Members went on to approved BAS's audited accounts, which were audited by ACM and Associates.
With the need to increase BAS' capacity the Management Committee appointed 3 Co-Opted members after being elected. The extended Management Committee now comprises of: -
Mr Antony Derjacques, President (re-elected)
Mr Divino Sabino, Secretary (re-elected)
Mr Elvis Chetty, Treasurer
Ms Natasha Faulconer-Alton, Executive Committee Member
Ms Zara Pardiwalla, Executive Committee Member
Mr Nichol Gabriel, Co-Opted Committee Member
Ms Angelique Pouponneau, Co-Opted Committee Member
Ms Tamara Christen, Co-Opted Committee Member
The members at the AGM also resolved that full membership annual fees shall be increased to SR 600 as of 2015 and that a concessionary rate of SR 200 for associate membership annual fees for University of Seychelles students shall apply with immediate effect.
A delegation from the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn visited Seychelles on the 22nd to 26th October 2014 to present on a topical issue and provide advocacy training for budding lawyers.
On the 23rd October 2014 at the Palaise de Justice, Acting Chief Justice Durai Karunakaran and Mr Antony Derjacques, the President of the Bar Association of Seychelles welcomed the Lincoln's Inn delegation in their opening speeches. Ms Joanna Robinson also provided a presentation introducing Lincoln's Inn to the audience.
Mr Matthew Nicklin QC gave the keynote presentation on the issue of criminal libel in a modern democracy with particular references to the Seychelles, United Kingdom and the jurisprudence of the European Union. The presentation was attended by members of the judiciary, the legal profession and law students of the University of Seychelles.
Thereafter, advocacy sessions were held at the premises of the Palaise de Justice primarily for the benefit of the law students, where the Hampel teaching method was utilised. Dr Michael Powers QC, Ms Jane McNeill QC and Matthew Nicklin QC led the advocacy training sessions.
Participants to the advocacy session thanked the Lincoln's Inn tutors for the very useful training sessions and in their vote of thanks, delivered by Ms Tamara Christen, implored that they return again.
The visit of the Lincoln's Inn delegation would not have been possible without the co-ordination of Ms Angelique Pouponneau, a pupil at Kieran Shah SC's chambers.
The Bar Association of Seychelles held a dinner at Sunset Beach Hotel for the Lincoln's Inn delegation on the evening of the 24th October 2014 which was attended by the delegation, members of the legal profession and Judge Dodin of the Supreme Court.
The majority of the Seychelles Attorneys who completed their education in the United Kingdom were called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn. This includes the incumbent President and Secretary of the Bar Association of Seychelles - Messrs Antony Derjacques and Divino Sabino.
The Secretary of the Bar Association of Seychelles, Mr Divino Sabino, attended 2 conferences in China at the behest of the China Law Society. Both conferences were entitled Legal Risks and Countermeasures of International Investment and Trade from the Perspective of China-Africa Co-operation. The first leg of the conference was held in Beijing on the 17th and 18th September 2014 and was held at the Beijing International Conference Centre. The second leg was held at Shanghai Jiao Tong University on the 23rd September 2014.
The African Delegation with Members of the China Law Society including Director General Yin Baohu and Wang Wei
Mr Sabino chaired a session of the conference in Beijing and delivered a paper on the dangers of enforcing foreign arbitral awards, stressing on the importance of due diligence on possible jurisdictions where the arbitral award may be enforced prior to the drafting of arbitration clauses in agreements.
Both conferences were attended by Chinese Government Officials, University Law Professors, Lawyers and the private sector - particularly investment and development banks wishing to learn more about the legal environment in investing in Africa. The conferences also brought in many African lawyers, arbitrators and judicial officers. African countries that were represented include Tanzania, Egypt, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, Benin, Zambia and South Africa.
The Bar Association of Seychelles maintains good relationships with the China Law Society. This is the third time that the Bar Association of Seychelles attends a conference at the behest of the China Law Society. In September 2012, BAS sent a delegation to Xiangtan, Hunan Province, China and in December 2012, BAS sent a delegation to Mauritius for the FOCAC Conference held there. Prior to that, in 2009, a delegation from the China Law Society visited Seychelles when both organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding.
Chief Justice Egonda-Ntende has vacated the post of Chief Justice of Seychelles in late August 2014 upon the expiry of his 5 year mandate. A farewell dinner was held in his Honour by the Judiciary of Seychelles on the 27th August 2014 at the Savoy Hotel at Beau Vallon. The event was attended by Egonda-Ntende and his family, members of the judiciary and the legal profession.
Much praise was heaped on Chief Justice Egonda-Ntende for greatly improving the Judiciary in the 5 years of his tenure by speakers such as the now Acting Chief Justice Durai Karunakaran and Attorney General Ronny Govinden. Cases started progressing more quickly, court processes became computerised, the relationship between the Judiciary and the Bar Association improved and regular meetings were held between the Bar Association's Management Committee and the Chief Justice. Codes of conduct were introduced for both Judges and for the Legal Profession. Mediation became court annexed and the public perception of the judiciary as a whole improved tremendously.
It is hoped that whoever succeeds Egonda-Ntende can maintain the path he has put the judiciary on.
5 years ago, the Seychelles Judiciary was in shambles. The backlog of cases just kept on increasing due to bad practices, policies and resources. In one of his earlier speeches, Chief Justice Egonda-Ntende remarked that if the Seychelles Judiciary were a person, it was a patient in the Intensive Care Unit ("ICU") of a hospital.
It is perhaps safe to say that the patient has now been released from hospital but must still come in for regular check-ups. It is hoped that the impending change of his medical doctor does not put the patient back into ICU.
The President of Cabo Verde, the Honourable Mr Jorge Carlos Fonseca visited the Palaise de Justice on the 17th June 2014. In attendance were the Judges, Magistrates, Court Staff, the Attorney General Ronny Govinden and the President and Secretary of the Bar Association Messrs Antony Derjacques and Divino Sabino.
Acting Chief Justice Durai Karunakaran welcomed President Fonseca on behalf of the Judiciary and President Fonseca delivered a short speech, citing that he was a University Law Professor and has much interest in the law and he stressed the importance of the rule of law in modern democracies.
Acting Chief Justice Karunakaran then led President Fonseca to a tour of the Palaise de Justice.
Judge Andre Sauzier passed away at the age of 90 at his home at Anse Royale on the 12th May 2014. He will be greatly missed. Members of his family, the Judiciary and Legal Profession held a memorial service on the 21st May 2014 at Supreme Court Room No 1 at the Palaise de Justice.
Mr Sauzier was called to the bar at the Honourable Society of Middle Temple in 1949. He came to Seychelles to serve at the Attorney General's Office in 1950. He served as the Attorney General of Seychelles from 1955 to 1970. He was a Supreme Court Judge from 1970 to 1982 and then Justice of the Seychelles Court of Appeal from 1982 to 1987.
Judge Sauzier's judgments carry immense weight before the Seychelles Courts. He was seen as the greatest legal luminary in the country and long after he retired from the bench, it was not uncommon to see the most senior lawyers in the country calling upon his home for his legal counsel. With his passing, Seychelles has not only lost a great man, but also a tome of knowledge.
The E-Grey Book of the Seychelles was unveiled to members of the public in a launching event held at the Auditorium of the Palaise de Justice on the 29th April 2014. The E-Grey Book is a collection of 80 pieces of Seychelles primary legislation with their corresponding secondary legislation, in epub format.
The launching event was presided over by Chief Justice Egonda-Ntende who remarked that when he first came to Seychelles in 2009, it was difficult to gain access to up to date copies of the laws of Seychelles. With the launching of the E-Grey book, it is hoped that judges, lawyers and all interested stakeholders will have easy access to the laws of Seychelles that are more commonly encountered in a courtroom and business environment.
Ms Jessica Kerr, the Executive Assistant to the Chief Justice then gave a demonstration of the E-Grey Book, illustrating how it may be accessed and downloaded off the Seylii website for offline use. She remarked that the entire suite of laws may be placed on a tablet or smartphone for easy access whilst in court and that it can also be downloaded onto a laptop. Ms Kerr noted that the E-Grey Book was put together by the judiciary with a local consultant, Mrs Laura Valabhji, an Attorney-at-Law and Notary and former chief legal draftsperson at the Department of Legal Affairs. Ms Kerr also noted that the E-Grey Book is up to date up to January 2014 and the team behind it hopes to constantly keep it updated.
However, Ms Kerr went on to add that the E-Grey Book is not the official version of the laws of Seychelles. It has not been compiled by the official drafting team of the Department of Legal Affairs and it has also not been endorsed by them. It is therefore subject to some typographical errors.
The Department of Legal Affairs had endeavoured and perhaps continues to endeavour to update the laws of Seychelles and make them available to the public. This was announced in 2009. 5 years on and they have nothing to show for it. The last time that an official complete version of the laws of Seychelles was produced was in 1996 - 18 years ago.
Members Legal Profession applauded the Chief Justice and the Seylii team for their initiative and work in making up to date copies of several laws available to the public for free.
With the coming into law of the Supreme Court (Mediation) Rules 2013 on the 28th October 2013, which provides for court annexed mediation, the Judiciary set about organising mediation training for all of the key stakeholders. Already a few judges have received formal training through overseas courses, this time round, the Judiciary of Seychelles brought in an experienced mediator to provide some training to the judiciary, legal practitioners and law students of the University of Seychelles.
Senior Judge Gordon Low from Utah, USA, gave an introductory presentation on the 21st February 2013 at the Palaise de Justice on mediation, its merits, the psychology behind it and some statistics to back it up as a suitable form of ADR. Judge Low will be in the country for the next several weeks to provide intensive training to members of the judiciary, legal profession, lower tribunal advocates and law students of the University of Seychelles.
It is hoped that the Mediation Rules will lead to more cases being settled and therefore saving the courts time and possibly litigants costs.
The University of Seychelles held its second degree congregation on the 29th November 2013 and it was an extra special occasion for the Seychelles legal community as this year's cohort of graduates included the very first batch of LLB graduates. The majority of the graduates intend to take up the Seychelles Bar Exams to ultimately qualify as Seychelles Attorneys-at-Law.
Credit must go to the University of Seychelles for introducing the LLB programme back in 2010 and also to members of the legal profession, namely Messrs Bernard Georges, John Renaud and Divino Sabino who are lecturers in the programme. Justice Anthony Fernando of the Seychelles Court of Appeal and former Attorney General also lectures in the programme.
The Bar Association of Seychelles extends its congratulations to the law graduates.