Are there any legal controls over the actions of Maires?

We have lived happily in a popular village in the Charente for nearly six years and have accumulated an impression that our generally anti-English Maire has not acted fairly or legally. Examples are:

  1. Selling a commune property at well below market value to a friend
  2. Letting that friend paint a mural on a public wall for money but refuse to disclose how much,.
  3. Advised that permission to paint a house would only be given if the work was done by a local builder.
  4. Refused to allow an English resident to have UPC windows, despite allowing them for their French neighbour ‘because that’s them and this is you’.

So, I’m interested to know whether in France there any legal checks and balances on the activities of Maires, or is it all left to the ballot box?

I’ll ask the question at my Mairie tomorrow…

Do you know your Member of the National Assembly of France?
They doubtless have a “surgery” and you might be able to talk this over face to face.

I’m suggesting that… as I do know ours… and would be comfortable posing any such questions if I needed to… and would be given good, accurate advice.

Others will chime in… there might well be a “route” to follow… but, as our Maires have been fabulous for the last 30 years… the situation such as you are experiencing has not arisen… hence I don’t know the “route”.

As non-French citizens, Stella, do you know if we have rights of access to NA members? I only ask because, although a British citizen, I was refused access to my former MP ‘because I didn’t live in the constituency’. Anna Soubry told me, via an aide, that it was against the law. :roll_eyes:

Good riddance to her, her predecessor, Nick Palmer, was very accessible and brilliant, with no such qualms. He saved us from an expensive government mistake. :smiley:

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If you are talking about UK and not being allowed access in that country… I cannot comment.

I can only comment on French stuff… and I know that local surgeries are held across France… and that everyone is welcome to go and talk things through…

Yes there are rules and checks! This is France after all…. It depends what the alleged wrong-doing is, whether (eg) administrative matter when it is for the collectivité to take action, or financial impropriety which is more of a criminal matter.

However for many things if the maire has the backing of his or her conseil it can be difficult to make accusations stick. Some friends of ours had exactly the same issue with velux windows (because they were gay, rather than being British). The ended up having to take the case to the high court - where they won the case but lost all their friends in the village.

The place to go is the defenseur des droits

.Contact | Défenseur des Droits

Also your deputy (and yes you have the right, despite not being able to vote).

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That’s very interesting and useful, thanks JaneJones

Yes, very re-assuring, thanks both. :smiley:

For those who may not know their Representatives…

Put in Charente under Department and it gives the total coverage…

Personally I wouldn’t go there Rob. If there’s anti-English sentiment now what do you think there’ll be after your challenges? It’s up to you of course but it’s not a battle I’d embark on.

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I don’t disagree! I was more interested to know what the checks and balances actually are.

Same with the unfriendly locals in the village, who won’t give a ‘bonjour’ in the street, but look away. Move on!

Kill 'em with kindness.

Always be polite… if your “unfriendly locals” choose to ignore your polite/cheery Bonjour… that is up to them… you will be in the right… and they put themselves in the wrong by “looking away” without acknowledging … so stick with it.

(I have proved that the “kill 'em with kindness” can work… :rofl: but in the instance I recall, it took a few years)


Morning David

If this is still an issue for you, I can confirm that, if you are still on the electoral register as living abroad, you are entitled to representation by your MP. ( Subject to the 15 year rule )

I had this issue with my Berxiteer Conservative MP and took it up with my local electoral officer, who confirmed I was correct.

If you need, I think I still have a link to the references in Hansard that confirm the point.



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Thank you Andy, but that was years ago and we are way beyond the 15 year rule. It was not that I had a specific problem, as I recall, but it was the sheer ignorance of even not speaking to someone which got my goat. And I know it was bull, people talk to MPs of other constituencies all the time. But we have moved on, and so has she, thankfully.

Funnily enough I had a similar experience of the, British, Euro member too, just after he had canvassed my vote at my address here in France. My vote went elsewhere, and he was kicked out too. :wink:

@Stella That link does not recognise La Dordogne, Dordogne or dordogne. Nor the commune. :roll_eyes:

The only person that I recall being unfriendly was not French, but Quebecois, so I suppose he had/has an ancient axe to grind. Mind you the locals weren’t keen on him either, taking the piss out of his accent (something they never do with the English) when he was once called upon to take over reading the balls at the lotto. What did he say?, what was that? and louder, QUOIS ?? :rofl: were the common asides etc. I know they understood really and so did I. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

not sure what you’re doing, David… but it certainly does work for Dordogne

there are actually 4 people for Dordogne… but my snip tool isn’t sufficiently large…

I did just what was asked, filled in commune and then department, and, in both cases it said it wasn’t recognised. Anyway, the rep for our area is the bald one at the bottom, No 3, but he is the only one who doesn’t appear to have a name. :rofl:

Ah got him now, M. Jean-Pierre Cubertafon. Thank you. :smiley:

look again David… I’ve done an extra snip… just for you…

anyone else having trouble… just move onto the Department box and start typing

Just now… I simply typed d and the box offered me 4 names… number 2 was Dordogne…


Can only go by our experience. Despite village opposition, our last Maire managed to get permission for 5 éoliennes to be sighted on his land, which overshadow the village. Apparently, he earns a nice rental income. He has been replaced by a new Marie whose family originate in the village, but he doesn’t live here, in fact he doesn’t even live in the department and we have never seen him!
The last Marie also bought a tractor for the commune, and it is kept at his farm. It seems that only he has access to it.

There’s corruption in France alot more then I thought it to be. I have seen worse.

Can you give a brief example?