"Legal at the time"?: Companies, governments and reparations for Mauritian slavery

Croucher, Richard ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9617-734X and Michel, Didier (2014) "Legal at the time"?: Companies, governments and reparations for Mauritian slavery. Journal of African Law, 58 (1) . pp. 89-108. ISSN 0021-8553 [Article] (doi:10.1017/s0021855313000193)

PDF - Final accepted version (with author's formatting)
Download (629kB) | Preview


This article critiques the “legal at the time” argument used by states and companies which historically practised slavery to defend themselves against claims for restitution, examining the Mauritian case. Although slavery was largely legal there before its abolition by the British, torts were common under slavery and, during the years of historic rupture, 1794–1839, when the local élite defied first French and then English law, generated systemic unlawful activity. Most types of legal action for restitution for slavery face formidable difficulties; pursuing reparations supported by broad legal arguments may therefore be a more viable route. Slavery may be argued to have been an illegitimate endeavour in itself. While sympathetic to that view, this article does not pursue it but rather seeks to demonstrate that the “legal at the time” argument against reparations contains significant lacunae even within its restricted terms. It also shows that French constitutional law offers possibilities in the form of rights that are not time-bound.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online 28 January 2014
Research Areas: A. > Business School
A. > Business School > Leadership, Work and Organisations > Employment Relations group
Item ID: 13804
Notes on copyright: This article has been published in a revised form in Journal of African Law, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0021855313000193. This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © SOAS, University of London 2014
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Alison Roache
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2014 14:29
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2022 19:06
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/13804

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview
6 month trend
6 month trend

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.