I will try to make this as brief as possible because it's a tale of woe that stretches back for nearly 6 years and nobody really wants to be miserable when it looks as though spring might, finally, have arrived!
I won't go into a lot of detail as that might confuse matters.
Family and I arrived in France on 7 March 2007. We completed our property purchase in the Cantal (15) at the end of July 2007. To cut short a long story, we discovered within hours of completing that we had an unwelcome, unexpected locataire (sitting tenant). We started vice caché proceedings against the sellers.
Suffice to say, the locataire and his possessions were not in evidence during the period between our first property viewing and completion. Our Compromis de Vente clearly states that my husband and I had sole use and enjoyment of the property (usufruit).
The locataire was eventually found to have a protected tenancy contract that had been signed by the sellers over 8 years prior to us purchasing the property. As the locataire had been 'forced on' the sellers by the Social Services, he could not be made to leave the property. That was confirmed during the Grande L'Instance Hearing.
We lost at the Grande l'Instance Tribunal in November 2008 because our (first) avocat did not gather all available evidence for presentation to the Court. The avocat was dismissed by his employers. We filed an Appeal at the Riom Cour d'Appel.
During 2008, the electrics failed in the house and the plumbing gave up the ghost, leaving us with no running water, no sanitation. Accordingly with French law (Napoleonic), we had been unable to pursue our plans to re-wire and re-plumb the house because that is illegal if there is a dispute. The locataire's apartment wasn't affected, it is separately wired and plumbed. My family and I bought a good quality tent and camping equipment, and we 'hit the road' believing we would win the Appeal within a year.
Our (second) excellent avocat really went to work! However, a few days before Christmas 2009, our Appeal was rejected despite the judiciary 'recognising the fraud of the sellers'. The judiciary stated that they could not award in our favour because 'there is no law in France to guide us'. We were given leave to Appeal to the Cour de Cassation (French Supreme Court) in Paris.
By this time, our avocat was seriously ill, in hospital, and we had a third avocat who was livid because, she said, 'The Court did not take into consideration your human rights.'
Onward! We were broke, having spent our life savings on legal fees. We applied to the Cour de Cassation Bureau d'Aide for Legal Aid. We were rejected. We filed at the ECHR, Strasbourg on 10 June 2010 and, within days, we were given leave to Appeal by the Cour de Cassation President the Legal Aid rejection. We Appealed and provided the Bureau d'Aide with all required copy documents, everything posted LRAR and received at the other end. We were notified that our specialist Cour de Cassation avocat would communicate with us via our (third) avocat.
We waited - and we became hobos in France! Long story that I have blogged and that contains much more detail.
In January 2013, we received notification from the Cour de Cassation Bureau d'Aide that our Legal Aid application had been rejected because they 'did not receive any supporting documents', and we are now out of time to reapply.
Three days ago, we received notification from the ECHR that our Case had been judged inadmissible because we 'had not submitted necessary documentation' to the Cour de Cassation Bureau d'Aide. There is no right of Appeal to the ECHR. Our complaint regarding breached human rights was not judged or ruled as inadmissible.
We need to know if we can still take our Appeal to the Cour de Cassation if we raise the funds to pay the specialist avocat and our (third) avocat. French Legal Aid is clearly a no-no!
Neither avocat will advise us unless we pay. Four people, including a young child, living on two UK State Pensions do not leave much change for paying avocats!
We would be very grateful for all advice, please.