Woman fined nominal £50 after wrongly raising Clameur de Haro

A WOMAN who raised a centuries-old legal device known as the Clameur de Haro after being served with an eviction notice for her repossessed home has had her case thrown out by the Royal Court.

Caroline Powell going into the Royal Court. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30338126)
Caroline Powell going into the Royal Court. Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30338126)

Caroline Powell engaged the ancient legal mechanism last Thursday when she read out the text on the driveway of the St Brelade property she occupies. She lost the property after becoming party to a degrèvement, a process in which banks or businesses apply to take over ownership of a property or a piece of land owned by a person or business unable to pay their mortgage.

Yesterday, in making a representation to the Royal Court, Mrs Powell claimed that the eviction order had been made improperly and that the case put forward by the new owner of the home against the Clameur had changed since her last court appearance on Friday. She added that she did not have the resources or time to respond to this.

She also claimed that the action was a violation of her human rights and that she was not present during all of the degrèvement proceedings and was therefore unable to give a fair representation.

However, Advocate Marcus Pallot, representing the property’s new owners – referred to in court as Mr and Mrs Sheppard – said his case was simply that Mrs Powell had raised the Clameur improperly as she had done so against an order of the Royal Court.

He later added that Mrs Powell, the ‘criant’, had been ‘granted considerable indulgence’ by being allowed to continue residing in the property for a month longer than would ordinarily have been permitted.

Mr Pallot then appealed to the court to dismiss the Clameur. He also made an application for costs in favour of his client.

Solicitor General Matthew Jowitt, who was present to help advise the Royal Court, first addressed the issue of human rights, claiming that Article 8 – a right to respect for your private and family life – Article 6 – the right to a fair trial – and Article 1 – the right to protection of property – appeared to be most relevant.

However, addressing Articles 6 and 1, he found that Mrs Powell had been given ample opportunity to put her case forward and, during yesterday’s proceedings, was ‘having her day in court’. He added that she had offered her home as security against a loan that she had taken out.

Addressing Article 6, he added that she had wilfully agreed to put her home forward as security and could have known this would have potential consequences for her and any family who lived with her.

Deputy Bailiff Robert MacRae, presiding, said the Clameur de Haro was a ‘useful’ self-help mechanism which formed a significant feature of Jersey’s customary laws.

However, delivering the judgment of the court, he said it had been improperly raised. He added that a full judgment would be published in due course.

Mrs Powell was fined a nominal fee of £50 for wrongly raising the Clameur. An application made against her for legal fees was denied.

The court also ordered that Mrs Powell and any other person living at the St Brelade property was prohibited from raising the Clameur again.

Jurats Jane Ronge and Anne Dulake were also sitting.

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