Melissa Virahsawmy

Barrister-At-Law

Ex-Sollicitor (UK)
LLB, ACIS, TEP

ACIS - Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries
TEP - Trust and Estate Practitioner (STEP)

Professional Qualifications
  • Barrister at Law (Mauritius)
  • Solicitor (England and Wales)
  • Chartered Secretary (ACIS)
  • Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP)
  • Certified Compliance Officer (International Compliance Association)
  • LLB (Honours), Buckingham, UK
Experience
JUNE 2011 – TO DATE: Barrister-at-law Virahsawmy Chambers, Port Louis
  • Legal advice and opinion in civil matters, including corporate, securitization, labour/industrial, contract, tort, tax, trust, court procedures, divorce, recovery of debt
  • Corporate restructurings, financing and transactions
  • Drafting and vetting of corporate documents, including constitutions, deeds, charge deeds, share pledges, share purchase agreements, shareholders agreements, powers of attorney
  • Drafting and vetting of contractual agreements, including contracts of employment, agreements for court settlements, lease agreements, commercial agreements
  • Attending court and dealing with procedural matters
  • Drafting and vetting of court pleadings
  • Preparing and conducting trials, including research and briefing witnesses
  • Legal research and analysis of laws
  • Internal legal training for staff of corporate organisations
  • Setting up and managing an office, including all administrative work related thereto

APRIL 2009 – APRIL 2011: Barrister-at-law Chancery House, Port Louis
  • Legal advice and opinion in civil matters, including corporate,securitization, labour/industrial, contract, tort, tax, trust, court procedures, divorce, recovery of debts
  • Corporate restructurings, financing and transactions
  • Drafting and vetting of corporate documents, including constitutions, deeds, charge deeds, share pledges, share purchase agreements, shareholders agreements, powers of attorney
  • Drafting and vetting of contractual agreements, including contracts of employment, agreements for court settlements
  • Attending court
  • Drafting and vetting of court pleadings
  • Preparing and conducting trials, including research, preparation of witnesses
  • Legal research

FEB 2007 – MARCH 2009: Barrister-at-law Banymandhub Boolell Chambers, Mauritius
  • Legal advice and opinion in civil matters, including corporate,securitization, labour/industrial, contract, tort, tax, trust, court procedure
  • Corporate restructurings, financing and transactions
  • Due diligence of corporate entities
  • Drafting and vetting of corporate documents, including constitutions, deeds, charge deeds, share pledges, share purchase agreements, shareholders agreements, powers of attorney
  • Drafting and vetting of contracts
  • Advising on company secretarial matters
  • Drafting and vetting of court pleadings
  • Preparing trials
  • Preparing and assisting in training courses (assignments for Baker Platt Boolell)
  • Legal research

JAN 2006 – JAN 2007: Pupilage
  • Yousuf Mohamed (Senior Counsel), 3 months
  • Urmila Boolell 6 months
  • George Ng Wong Hing (Senior Attorney), 3 months

DEC 2004 – DEC 2005: Legal Executive Banymandhub Boolell Chambers, Mauritius
  • Assisting the senior partner in:
    • Assignments on civil and corporate matters
    • Preparing advice for international clients on local laws including laws relative to companies and trusts, tax and contract.
    • Drafting and reviewing of different types of agreements including stock purchase agreements, pledge agreements, lease, share subscription, management contract, shareholders' agreement, consultancy services, employment contracts, trust deeds, constitutions of companies
    • Preparing pleadings for court matters
    • Assisting in the set up of a department for providing compliance services
  • Legal research on matters of various nature (corporate, trust, tax, labour,contract)
  • Compliance services to corporate entities
    • Due diligence and reporting on status
    • Preparation of compliance and operations manuals
    • Implementing and monitoring systems

JUNE 2003 – DEC 2003: Manager Key Financial Services Ltd, Mauritius(previously Ernst & Young Financial Services Ltd)
  • Supervising a team of administrators dealing with day to dayadministration of companies and trusts
  • Legal input to private and corporate clients on the administration of offshore trusts and companies
  • Preparation and reviewing of contracts and other agreements in conjunction with lawyers
  • Implementation and maintenance of compliance to procedure manual and statutory compliance
  • Internal training of staff on local legislation and compliance
  • Liaison with authorities on complex issues
  • Working in conjunction with the tax partner on structuring of international corporate clients and international tax advice
  • Assist directors in the business development projects of the firm
  • Ensure proper delegation and supervision of teams

MAR 2003 – MAY 2003: Manager Ernst & Young Financial Services Ltd, Mauritius
  • Same functions as above-mentioned for Key Financial Services Ltd.

DEC 2002 – FEB 2003: Administrator Bailhache Labesse Trustees Ltd, Jersey(Seconded from Ernst & Young Financial Services Ltd)
  • Administration of trusts and companies
  • Training on the preparation of client accounts
  • Marketing of new joint venture company
  • Liaising with clients for transfer of administration of entities from Jersey to Mauritius
  • Reporting to director on due diligence issues

AUG 2002 – NOV 2002: Administrator Ernst & Young Financial Services Ltd, Mauritius
  • Daily administration of trusts and companies
  • Liaising with tax and legal advisers
  • Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations
  • Assisting with the set up of new trustee company
  • Assisting the managing director with legal issues
  • Legal record keeping

JAN 2001 – APR 2002: Administrator Deloitte & Touche, Luxembourg
  • Daily administration of companies
  • Liaising with tax and legal advisers
  • Ensuring compliance with laws and regulations
  • Legal record keeping
  • Assisting the tax partner on the implementation of structures
  • 1 month training at Deloitte and Touche (Mauritius) on the administration of Mauritian companies – March 2002

SEPT 1998 – SEPT 2000: Trainee Solicitor Messrs Downs,Solicitors, UK
  • Wills, Probate and Trusts Department
  • Litigation Department
  • Company/ Commercial Department
  • Property Department
Education
JULY 2015 - APRIL 2016
  • International Diploma in Governance, Risk and Compliance
    International Compliance Association

MAY 2013 – AUGUST 2013
  • STEP Certificate in Foundations

NOV 2005 – JUNE 2006
  • International Certificate in Compliance Practice (Mauritius)
    International Compliance Association

JAN 2004 – SEPT 2004
  • Bar Vocational Course
    Council of Legal Education, Mauritius

AUG 2003 – DEC 2004
  • Professional programme for chartered secretaries and administrators
    ICSA, London

SEPT 1997 – JUNE 1998
  • Legal Practice Course
    BPP Law School, London

JULY 1995 – JUNE 1997
  • LLB (Honors) – Bachelor of Law
    Grade: Second Class, Upper Division – 2:1
    University of Buckingham, UK

JAN 1993 – DEC 1994
  • Higher School Certificate (HSC)
    Institution: Queen Elizabeth College, Mauritius
    University of Cambridge, UK

JAN 1991 – DEC 1992
  • School Certificate (SC)
    Institution: Queen Elizabeth College, Mauritius
    University of Cambridge, UK

Other Courses & Workshops
  • Financial Regulation & Compliance – by Stephen Platt
  • Introduction to the interpretation and application of Mauritius Tax
  • Treaties – by Bernard Jeffcott
  • Use of trusts in Mauritius – STEP Mauritius by Messrs William B
  • Howarth, Dev Erriah and Muhammad Uteem
  • STEP Annual Indian Ocean Conference 2006
  • STEP Indian Ocean Conference 2011
  • Minimum of 12 hours CPD legal courses annually by the Institute for Judicial and Legal Studies
  • Legal Insights - Corporate Insolvency Workshop - MIOD (24.02.15)
  • STEP Mauritius Conference 2015 – Mauritius, opening doors to Africa and beyond
Memberships
  • Bar Council, Mauritius
  • Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators – Associate
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP)
  • Mauritius Institute of Directors
  • International Council for Commercial Arbitration
Exposures
  • Legal advice
  • Corporate Services
  • Trust Administration
  • Company management and secretarial
  • Anti-money laundering procedures and applications
  • Compliance and Corporate Governance
  • Legal contracts and agreements review
  • Structuring of companies for tax planning purposes
  • Management of teams
  • Office structuring and administration
Skills
  • Fluent in written and spoken English and French.
  • Very good working knowledge of computers and various application software.
  • Leadership skills in delegation and management of a team of people.
  • Quick learner and adaptable to pressured environment.
  • Ideally welcomes challenges.