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Attorney General's Office, Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Institutional Reforms

The Curator of Vacant Estates


The present curator of the Republic of Mauritius is Mr. Ravindarnath Lutchumun and he was appointed on 24 July, 2000.
 
Role of the Curator
 
The Curator administers all vacant estates, in accordance with such directions as the Attorney General may give, in accordance with the provisions of the Curatelle Act 1982.
 
Vacant estates under the Act include the following :-
 
[1] Vacant Successions: where a person died intestate, without leaving any heir in Mauritius, and it is believed that this person may possess property, then his succession is deemed to be a vacant succession.
 
[2] Unclaimed property : in cases where the owner of any property in Mauritius cannot be ascertained.
 
[3] Absentees : in cases where a person owns property in Mauritius but is not lawfully represented or has a legal representative who is not empowered to exercise any right in relation to that property.
 
In addition to the above, the Curator also administers the estates of minors or persons of age as may be vested in him by the Judge in Chambers in accordance with the Code Napoleon.
 
The procedure :Where the Curator has reason to believe that a vacant estate exists in Mauritius, he applies to a judge to have the property vested in him. This order is called a vesting order.
 
A vesting order is only granted on the production of an affidavit to the effect that diligent enquiries have been made with a view to ascertaining that the estate is vacant.
 
It is worth noting that a person, other than the Curator, who has reason to believe that a vacant estate exists in Mauritius, may by written notice call upon the Curator to apply, not later that 21 days from the date of the notice, for a vesting order.
 
For property of less than Rs 1,000, the Curator may take possession of same without applying for a vesting order. However, the written authority of the Attorney General is required.
 
The Curator may also hand over any property vested in him to the real owner or to his agent and proxy upon payment of Government's Commission.
 
Once a vesting order is made, the powers of the Curator are as follows:
 
[a] take possession of any property comprised in the vacant estate.
 
[b] ascertain whether there is any person interested in the property.
 
[c] make an inventory of any movable property comprised in the vacant estate.
 
[d] ascertain whether there is any outstanding claim against the vacant estate.
 
The Curator may also grant a lease of any immovable property vested in him for a term not exceeding 9 years.
 
Where a person claims that he is entitled to administer any property comprised in a vacant estate vested in the Curator, he may apply to a Judge for an order divesting the Curator of the administration of that property. Such an order is known as a divesting order.
 
An application for a divesting order shall be made by summons calling upon the Curator to show cause why the order should not be made.
 
No costs can be awarded against the Curator personally or against the Government in any legal proceedings to which the Curator is a party. However, the Court may award costs against the vacant estate involved in the proceedings.
 
Miscellaneous
 
The Curator also has the power to represent prisoners where a prisoner is unable to protect his property.
 
The Curator keeps books and records, and these accounts are at all times open to examination and audit by the Director of Audit.