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Stakeholders meet to discuss proposed Civil Code of Seychelles 2017 | 06 May 2017

Members of the judiciary, government, legal affairs, the Bar Association, immediate stakeholders like the civil society, churches representatives and other interested people, met this week to give their inputs and views on the Civil Code of Seychelles Bill which certain areas are being amended to fit in with the reality of the new Seychelles.

The panel was chaired by Vice-President Vincent Meriton in the presence of Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey; acting attorney general David Esparon, lawyer and member of the National Assembly for the Les Mamelles district Bernard Georges and lawyer John Renaud.

Also present was the principal secretary in the Vice-President’s Office, Alain Volcère.

The Civil Code of Seychelles provides the basic rules of the law of Seychelles for the relationship between people. It was enacted in 1975. Therefore much has happened in Seychelles since then, hence the need to review it in order to modernise and ensure that it reflects the current social circumstances of Seychelles.

The proposals for the revised Civil Code are based on the report of a Civil Code Revision Committee. The revision exercise began in 2013 and proceeded with a series of Committee meetings, all of which were open to the public. The Committee, chaired by the Chief Justice, interacted extensively with government officials, judges and lawyers.

Based on the Committee’s recommendations, it is proposed to replace the Civil Code of Seychelles Act 1975 with the Civil Code of Seychelles Bill 2017. The draft, aptly described as the white paper, sets out the key changes in the Bill.

Apart from Thursday’s meeting, the public will also be consulted on the new proposals as certain points in it touch the family fabric and other social aspects of the Seychellois people.

Introducing the ‘white paper’ bill to those present, Mr Meriton said the revision is historic in the sense it had brought together all the three arms of government – judiciary, legislative and executive.

“As you know the Civil Code was enacted in 1975. And a lot of developments have happened since then. It is therefore appropriate for it to be reviewed as is being done with other pieces of legislation. It should reflect the current circumstances and environment that the country is undergoing,” said Mr Meriton.

He remarked the Civil Code provides the basic rules of the laws of Seychelles with regard to the relationship between people. Work on the proposals, said Mr Meriton, started in 2013 by the Civil Code Revision Committee, where they invited the public to be part and parcel of the whole process.

Mr Esparon then made a presentation on what the revision entails.  Briefly the revision consists of equalising the rights of all children; sharing of property in ‘en menage’ relationships; the rights of co-owners; testamentary freedom – the ability to dispose freely of property on death and land use matters.

As explained by both Chief Justice Twomey and lawyer Georges: “We are not changing the Civil Code completely. We are just re-adjusting certain clauses to fit in with the reality of Seychelles today.”

A more detailed version of the Civil Code of Seychelles Bill 2017 can be seen at the following link: http://www.gov.sc/eParticipation/papers/Civil_Code_of_Seychelles%20Bill_2017.pdf

 

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