Consumerism only reached Seychelles after a wave of market-liberalization reforms adopted in 2008 as a response to a dire economic crisis. Consumer law is therefore only a recent phenomenon in the country. The main sources of inspiration for Seychelles legislation are the UN Guidelines on Consumer Protection, the EU Directive on unfair contract terms, and the South African Consumer Protection Act. Policy initiatives tend to be modelled either on other small island countries or on Commonwealth countries. The formal legal framework is overall modern and in line with international guidelines. However, the article identifies two sets of challenges encountered in practice. First, local standardization efforts fail to address the matter of poor-quality products entering the market, and this lack of local capacity is insufficiently complemented by reliance on international standards. Secondly, consumers seldom rely on the adjudicatory mechanism provided by consumer laws and informal settlement mechanisms are preferred, which comes at the cost of depriving consumer law operatives of precious interpretative materials, leaving areas of legal uncertainty. While policy guidance from the political sphere would be needed, it is unclear how much attention consumer matters will receive in the medium term.
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Data estimates on population produced by the United Nations portal UNDATA—A World of Information, available at http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crName=SEYCHELLES#Top (last accessed 15 April 2018)
Seychelles was initially settled by the French in 1770, and the first laws were enacted in 1788. By 1810, the region (including the larger island of Mauritius) capitulated to the British who had fought vigorously over the Western Indian Ocean islands for the control of the route between India and the Cape. Independence was gained on 29 June 1976 (Twomey 2013).
The University of Seychelles has been offering the University of London International Programme LLB since 2010.
The latest and most comprehensive work on Seychelles law is the published version of the PhD thesis of the Chief Justice of the Seychelles Supreme Court Dr. Mathilda Twomey, Legal Métissage in a Micro-Jurisdiction: the Mixing of Common Law and Civil Law in Seychelles (2017), Journal de Droit Comparé di Pacific, Collection “Ex Professo” Volume VI. Another valuable source is Jessica Kerr, “Finding the Law in Seychelles” (2015) GlobaLex, available at http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Seychelles.html (last accessed 15 April 2018).
In the recent decision François Octobre vs The Government of Seychelles  SCSC 941, the Supreme Court of Seychelles stated that the consistent use of English negligence cases, such as Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee (1957)1 WLR 582, by Seychelles courts to found medical liability is “an aberration and must be disregarded.”
All Seychelles legislation and case law referred to in this article can be accessed through the Seychelles Legal Information Institute (SeyLII) at www.seylii.org.
The AG’s office in Seychelles bears a number of different responsibilities, including in particular prosecution and legislative drafting. Due to limited capacity and very limited human resources, it is not uncommon for State Counsels to take on drafting duties.
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The five mandatory standards are the following: (i) SS9:1991—Rev.3:2005 (S.I.38:2005)—Specification for Concrete Blocks; (ii) SS11:1991—Rev.2:2005 (AMD.1:2006)—Specification for Periodic Inspection and testing of refillable gas cylinders; (iii) SS23:1994—Rev.1:2004 (S.I.20 of 2004)—Specification for Toilet Soap; (iv) SS33:19994—Rev.1:1999 (S.I.34 of 1999)—Specification for modified UHT and modified pasteurised skimmed, partly skimmed and full cream milk; (v) SS54:1999 (S.I. 53 of 1999)—Specification for Seychelles Time.
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The topic was discussed in various interviews, including one with an FTC Market Analyst who is in the process of finalising a study suggesting that the reasons for the low success of voluntary standards are the reduced dimensions of the market and the ensuing relatively small competition. There is no incentive to adopt standards and endure the cost of meeting them if this is to have little or no impact on sales.
Interviews with FTC Compliance Officer and Customs Officers
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This has been recently the case when a brand of milk-based drinks received a prohibition of sales notice and a strong warning to the population, resulting in the retailer voluntarily recalling all products.
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Cite this article
Rizzi, M. Reflections on Consumer Law and Policy in Seychelles. J Consum Policy 41, 395–410 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10603-018-9378-z
- Consumer law
- Consumer policy
- Product safety
- Product liability
- Mixed jurisdiction