Mongrel Laws or Model Code? The Antecedents of the Penal Code of Seychelles

Authors Mathilda Twomey

ISSN: 2521-2605
Affiliations: Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Seychelles, Irish Research Scholar and James Hardiman Scholar, National University of Ireland, Galway
Source: Journal of Comparative Law in Africa, Volume 2 Issue 2, p. 40 – 63


This article considers the transfer and reception of two supposedly diametrically opposed criminal law regimes in Seychelles during its colonisation first by the French and subsequently by the British. An Order in Council in 1831 had proclaimed that despite the terms of Capitulation by the French to the British, the French Civil and Commercial Codes would be preserved but that English criminal law would henceforth be applied. However, until 1954 a patchwork of criminal laws obtained; these were described by British administrators as a ‘Russian salad’ or ‘mongrel laws’. In replacing this hybrid regime, the British advocated what they considered to be an appropriate (‘Model’) Penal Code for the colony. Ironically, this new Code itself had a peculiar legal hybridity with a strange itinerary, having already crossed three continents and was fashioned from imperial codes in East Africa, Nyasaland, Nigeria, Queensland, Italy, France; all perhaps ultimately drawing from Bentham’s Pannomion.