The Clameur de Haro – an ancient legal injunction used when a person’s property is deemed under threat – has been raised in Jersey for the first time in two decades.
St Brelade resident Caroline Powell initiated the medieval Clameur when Viscount’s Officers visited her property on Thursday morning to present papers starting an eviction process that had been ordered by Royal Court in November following an application of the property’s owner.
Objecting to the eviction, Mrs Powell, in the presence of the officers, got down on one knee in front of two witnesses, clasped her hands and called out: “Haro! Haro! Haro! À l’aide, mon Prince, on me fait tort.” (Hear me! Hear me! Hear me! Come to my aid, my Prince, for someone does me wrong).
Now termed the ‘criant’ in law, she then completed the process by reciting the Lord’s Prayer in French.
On hearing this, the Viscount’s Officers stopped what they were doing, as they are required to by the Clameur law.
The next stage occurred in the Royal Court on Friday afternoon, when it was asked to adjudicate on the validity of the raising.
Representing the owner of the property, which had previously been owned by Mrs Powell but was removed from her ownership by dégrèvement proceedings in 2018, Advocate Marcus Pallot said he believed the Clameur had been wrongly applied as the commencement of eviction proceedings had been an order of the Court.
Representing herself, Mrs Powell asked for more time to read through papers and prepare her case.
Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae, who was sitting with Jurats Dulake and Ronge, agreed to a short adjournment until Tuesday morning, when the Court will decide if the Clameur was properly applied.
“Whether or not it was wrongfully raised, the injunction remains in effect until Tuesday,” he said.
The origins of the Clameur de Haro, which is also law in Guernsey, are unclear but 'Haro' could be a contraction of 'Ha! Rou!' so refer to a direct appeal to the Norman king Rollo, the Viking founder of the Norman dynasty in 911, who was renowned for his strict integrity and justice.
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