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Failed Clameur de Haro raiser takes case to Court of Appeal

Failed Clameur de Haro raiser takes case to Court of Appeal

Thursday 25 March 2021

Failed Clameur de Haro raiser takes case to Court of Appeal

A woman who raised the Clameur de Haro - an ancient legal injunction used when a person’s property is deemed under threat - has taken her failed bid to the Court of Appeal.

St. Brelade resident Caroline Powell St Brelade performed the medieval ritual - the first time it had been used in two decades - last month when Viscount’s Officers visited her property.

They were there to present papers starting an eviction process that had been ordered by Royal Court in November following an application of the property’s owner.

But earlier this month, the Royal Court ruled that the Clameur had been incorrectly raised because the officers had been carrying out a lawful order of the court. 

On Wednesday, again representing herself, Mrs Powell appealed this judgment, arguing that the Royal Court had not taken into account her human rights, and the title of the property had been wrongfully taken from her in 2018, therefore it was tainted.

royal court

Pictured: The appeal was heard yesterday.

Specifically, Mrs Powell argued that the dégrèvement process, which had led to her losing the ownership of the house she once owned to creditors, was “barbaric, brutal and draconian”. 

“The dégrèvement was a weapon used against me and propelled me into a nightmare situation; the Clameur was a final cry for help,” she said.

She added that the title of the property had been removed from her “by deceit” and the Royal Court was wrong to base its judgment on a previous Clameur case, from 2000, which was significantly different to her own.

The Court of Appeal - made up of James McNeill, George Bompas and Sir William Bailhache - reserved its judgment and will publish it at a later date. 

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.

In order to raise it, Mrs Powell had got down on one knee in front of two witnesses as well as the Viscount’s Officers, 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).

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