The Principality of Monaco, a sovereign state borded by France, is located on the French Riviera close to the Italian border.

1. Introduction

a. History and background

The Principality of Monaco, a sovereign state bordered by France, is located on the French Riviera close to the Italian border. It has its own territorial waters and its land mass extends to some 195 hectares or approximately one square mile. The official language is French.

The currency of Monaco is the euro (EUR).

b. Legal system

The head of state is the prince, currently Prince Albert II. The country has a written constitution and elected legislative assembly. The prince appoints his government and members of the Supreme Court. A strict separation of powers, instituted in 1911, is maintained and guaranteed by the Constitution, last revised in 2002. Traditionally, and by treaty, many judicial and government posts are filled by personnel presented to the prince by the French government, but in 2005 Monaco won the right to appoint its own citizens to all judicial and government posts.

The Grimaldi dynasty of Monaco was founded in 1298. Monaco’s territorial waters were defined in 1984, and its airspace in 1993. The principality became a member of the United Nations in 1993 and the Council of Europe in 2004. Major building works conducted over the last 40 years have seen the land-mass expand by 36 per cent, and the population has risen by 30 per cent. Tourism and service activities generate significant income. Indirect taxation, mainly value added tax (VAT), accounts for over half the state income budget.

The law in Monaco was originally based largely, but not entirely, on that of France, although it has evolved separately. Generally, Civil Code provisions equivalent to those of France prevail in the field of inheritance, whereas private international law principles are very different.

Editorial board
William Easun TEP
Lawrence Graham, Monte Carlo, Monaco


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