Sharmilla Bhima is a Partner in the Corporate department in Mauritius. Prior to joining the firm in August 2007, she was a practising barrister in general private practice with extensive exposure to both the offshore commercial and litigation.
Sharmilla has specialised in international arbitration. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators UK and is an arbitrator on the MARC Panel of Arbitrators of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She formed part of the team that was responsible for opening the former LCIA chapter in Mauritius on international arbitration when the LCIA set up the LCIA-MIAC international arbitration centre jointly with the Government of Mauritius in 2011, from which it officially withdrew as from 27 July 2018.
She is one of the contributing authors for Lexis Nexis, representing Appleby, on International Arbitration in relation to the Mauritian jurisdiction and remains active on matters relating to international arbitration. Sharmilla gained significant experience on arbitration in relation to insurance claims linked with road-accidents as a Vice-Chairman of the Motor Vehicle Insurance Arbitration Committee.
She has acquired expertise on intellectual property law and regularly advises on the protection of intellectual property. As Chairperson of the Industrial Property Tribunal she has helped the Government of Mauritius on both the protection of intellectual property rights and on its joint efforts with the World Intellectual Property Organisation to adopt the Copyright Act 2014. She is currently collaborating with the Government of Mauritius in its efforts to improve the law regulating patents, industrial designs and trademarks. Sharmilla helped with the preparation of a chapter on the protection of intellectual property law in two books that were authored by a senior member of the Mauritian Bar, Mrs. ML Lam Hung, namely “Investing in Mauritius Ocean of Opportunities” and “Doing Business in Mauritius - A Practical Guide."
Sharmilla has been ranked as a ‘Business Leader’ in Mauritius in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 editions of Business Leaders, a publication aimed at providing insights to local and foreign businessmen as well as investors on Mauritian decision makers within the public and private sector.
She is involved in both transactional and non-transactional matters. On the transactional side, she has worked on a number of transactions for financial institutions, private equity and hedge fund clients, credit restructuring, derivatives transactions, mergers and acquisitions, corporate, insolvency, fund and trust formation and disputes as well as employment law matters (both contentious and non-contentious), including Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Axis Bank Ltd, Bank of America, Banque Cantonale de Geneve, Barclays Bank PLC, BMCE Bank International, Citibank N.A., Citigroup, Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft, Coutts & Co., Credit Suisse AG, Deutsche Bank AG, Electro Banque, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, ICICI, JP Morgan, Lloyds TSB Bank, Macquarie Bank Ltd, Morgan Stanley, National Australia Bank Limited, Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale, Stanbic Bank Ghana Ltd, Standard Chartered Bank, UBS AG, AlcatelLucent, The Daiichi Mutual Life Insurance Company, DAMAC Holdings Co, LLC, Dallah Albaraka (Ireland) Ltd, Gateway Telecommunications, Kerzner International Group, Interswitch, Johnson & Johnson and SAB Miller Plc.
Sharmilla read Law at the University of Reading, UK and attended the BPP Law School for the Bar Vocational Course. She undertook her pupillage at Thomas More Chambers, London, UK and was called to the English Bar at the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn in July 1998. She was called to the Mauritian Bar in September 1999. She has specialised in international arbitration with Queen Mary University of London and the World Intellectual Property Organisation.
Sharmilla is a Fellow of the Mauritius Institute of Directors. She is a member of the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn, UK and currently serves as the Vice-President of the Alumni branch of Lincoln’s Inn in Mauritius. She is a member of the Mauritius Bar Association and served as a co-opted member of the Mauritius Bar Council in 2007-2008. She has been actively involved in community service and helped with the launch of the Appleby Legal Education Scholarship in Mauritius and served as the President of The English-Speaking Union (Mauritius) from 2009 to 2011.
She is fluent in English and French and has a working knowledge of Hindi.