The Parts that Make a Whole? - The Mixity of the Laws of Seychelles
Vernon Palmer (ed), Mixed Legal Systems, East and West: Newest Trends and Developments (2012/3), Forthcoming
24 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2012
Date Written: July 1, 2012
Over a decade ago, George Gretton noted of Scots property law that “one can live and work in a system and still massively fail to understand it in context.” Such peripheral blindness may be common across a number of legal traditions and systems. It is certainly found in the mixed, micro jurisdiction of the small island republic of Seychelles. This investigation marks the beginning of comparative research on Seychellois law and legal institutions in the hope of bringing them into greater focus.
In particular it will consider Seychellois law in light of the traits, trends and tendencies characteristic of the ‘third legal family’, as defined by Vernon Palmer in his Mixed Jurisdictions Worldwide. For Palmer, the ‘third legal family’ includes those systems that experienced double colonisation, combining in one jurisdiction both continental (‘civil law’) private law and ‘common law’ public law with judicial institutions and procedural and evidential law reflecting significant assimilation of Anglo-American legal mechanisms.
Determining the ‘traits’ of the Seychellois legal system will require an examination of its sources of law, substantive and procedural rules, legal infrastructure and institutions. Analysing its ‘trends’ will entail a description of its legal methodology and style. Examining its ‘tendencies’ will necessitate a look at the values, traditions and language underpinning the legal system. Finally, recent developments in Seychelles are considered to suggest the sustainability of its legal métissage. These developments include the establishment of a law school at the University of Seychelles, and the assistance of international legal experts to modernise and equip Seychelles for economic competitivity.
Finally, an attempt is made to determine the taxonomical context of Seychellois law. Classifying this legal system is at best tentative especially in view of the polemic surrounding legal taxonomy and the lack of a universally accepted legal classification system. Moreover, whether the existing Seychellois legal system will be ‘hardy’ enough to remain viable is questionable.
Keywords: diffusion, hybridity, legal history, legal philosophy, legal pluralism, legal transplants, mixed jurisdictions, mixed legal systems, social science
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