As the world continues to mourn the passing of the late Queen Elizabeth II with the public state funeral taking place this morning of Monday 19 September, the Judiciary of Seychelles reflects on the time Seychelles was under British rule, its transition into independence, and Britain’s legacy and positive influence on our country’s legal system.
Although Seychelles was controlled by the British beginning in 1794, Britain did not assume full control until 1810. Their rule was formalized in 1814 with the Treaty of Paris. In 1903, Seychelles became a Crown Colony but was still controlled by the British government.
Queen Elizabeth II visited Seychelles once in 1972 when the islands were still a British colony. During her stay, she opened the international airport, which changed the course of the islands’ economy as it opened its doors to developing a thriving tourism industry. She also visited main institutions – including the Judiciary.
As a result of the coincidence of history we are a mixed jurisdiction, with the French law having pre-eminence in the civil field, whilst our public law and criminal law being deeply inspired by English law, with the practices; procedures and ethics being inherited from the High Court of England. These principles are now part of our much admired judicial system.
“The Queen devoted her life to her people and to the Commonwealth of Nations, and her 70 year record on the throne was the main constant during Britain’s ever changing history – from the times of war up until recently with Brexit and the Covid pandemic. Her sense of dedication to the principle of democratic governance and the Rule of Law inspires us all and we are sincerely grateful that these values will be carried forward by Charles the III,” notes Chief Justice Rony Govinden.
In solidarity with the people of Britain, and other local governmental entities, the Judiciary of Seychelles’ flag has been at half-mast since the day after the Queen’s passing, from 9 September 2022 until today.