Cour de Cassation


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.

Kindest regards

Forgot to say Chrissie - I take a photo of the documents showing what they are and to whom they are directed.

This can be done maybe by showing the type of document and the address you are sending it to, before you seal it up then another photo showing the address on the folded document/s.

Covering with plastic is a good idea but I suggest that you don't put an address on that too otherwise that becomes the 'envelope'.

I'm not really paranoid but I do believe in belt and braces x two!

Hi Chrissie,

As is appears that LRAR is a total scam, I suggest you assume that you need to protect documents as well. Therefore I suggest you label the documents as proposed, but you also put everything in sealed plastic envelope, probably also with a label. That way, nobody can say "we received something from you but couldn't read it, because it had been damaged by water et alia and therefore it didn't prove anything". You might even consider insurance, so you get something back from the Postes, if things go awry.

You also need to make sure that the recipient received it and obtain written confirmation.

Luxembourg is both French and German speaking but I would suggest that the people/public servants have a mentality more towards the traditional German idea of honesty and rectitude. However, you can't afford to take chances and are forced to assume they embrace modern French PS ideas. If it upsets them, it just strengthens your case, as I'm sure you will point out to them.

Best of luck


Just a few minutes ago we were advised that our complaint will probably be considered by the EUCJ, Luxembourg.

We must act quickly and that is what we will do!

I have no idea where to start, but I'm sure I will have the answer by Sunday night, ie in time to post our initial documentation to the EUCJ first thing on Monday morning.

My family and I are so very grateful to you all, for your support, your kindness, your invaluable help and advice.

A huge thank you, also, to Catharine and James - you are true diamonds. Through SFN, we have received the assistance we needed to obtain the legally verified information we needed to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down, resume our fight for justice and - hope.

I will post here as we proceed, and update as and when. My blog will also be kept updated.

Kind regards to you all.

Chrissie and family

Good grief, Kathleen, we honestly thought we must be the only family to fall foul of the LRAR 'scam', because that's the only word I can think of to clarify the action!

Thank you very much for your very timely advice. We have been given hope today that the EUCJ will probably consider our complaint. I must look into getting first steps in place as quickly as possible. That will be my priority over this coming weekend.

Each package will have the address written on the document, as you have clarified. I will explain to the EUCJ why we are having to take such action.

Again, thank you very much indeed.

Kind regards.

Hi Chrissie - I am horrified that you are still in the same, or worse, position as when I first heard of your troubles.

Re LRAR - As apparently the suggestion that the documents were not in the envelope is commonly heard of I have been advised to not use an envelope but to use the documents themselves, stapled if necessary, and fold and seal then write the address on the document itself. No-one can then say that it hasn't been received. It might mean more than one posting for each package of different documents but it does work.

Hi Jane,

I was thinking about you earlier this evening when I submitted an enquiry to YEA on advice received from Keith Taylor MEP! Nothing to do with my house Case, but a very pertinent enquiry, nevertheless, for Britons living in France.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. My family and I have received a lot of genuine empathy and good advice from several French Mayors around France, and from our tax office in Aurillac. Likewise, the RSI and URSSAF staff in Aurillac have been brilliant - sadly, they must pass everything to Clermont-Ferrand for finalising and that's where the gremlins live!

Kind regards.

I am in the process of having a case resolved in favour of UK pensioners in France.
I have had a lot of help, but it is amazing which parts of “authority” work well and which don’t!


A quick update.

We have now received verified confirmation that we are out of time to get our Case heard in the Cour de Cassation, Paris, even if we raise funds to pay for the proceedings.

However, we are now waiting to find out if we can submit a complaint to the EUCJ in Luxembourg.

I will post here when I have an answer.

Kind regards.

No, you don't sound at all condescending, what you're saying makes perfectly good sense. As for being sectioned, well, having taught 15/16 years old youngsters for 34+ years, I have probably come as close to meeting those folks in white coats as I will ever attain! Patience, tolerance and selective poor hearing and sight have been my mainstays for many moons!

I have several emails to write and send when I finish work tonight, Laura Stevens is on my list and I will offer only tit-bits that might make her mouth water. I have a fairly large selection from which to choose!

I will let you know how things go, Doreen.

Kind regards.

Hi Howard,

I have researched The Hague European Court, that Court hears only Cases involving State v State, not individuals.

Everything is worth investigating, though, thank you for signposting me in that direction. It may not be a route we can take, but new learning is never less than positive.

Kind regards.

Dear Howard,

You are an absolute diamond.

These have been my thoughts during the past couple of days, and your most recent posts (that I honestly didn't notice until a few minutes ago) confirm to me that I'm not alone with my thoughts - we do need to retrieve our file from the ECHR; we do need to lobby British politicians across the Parties, and we do need to continue fighting for justice, no matter what the odds.

Several people have offered to set up a fund for us, Howard, and we feel very humble that they (and you) would donate to such a fund. However, your words are also my thoughts and the thoughts of my family, we do not want 'good money after bad money' waste on our consciences. Given the evidence we seek, ie that we are not out of time where the Cour de Cassation is concerned, we will be able to raise the necessary funds, we're fairly certain of that.

I will start both balls rolling, with regard to retrieving our file from the ECHR and lobbying politicians, and I will keep you informed throughout.

Yes, my blog is more outspoken, it contains so many facts that I can easily verify with legal documentation. My blog is also the base marker for a book I am writing about our fight for justice in France. I will be meeting up with a published author later this year, she will be guiding me and proof-reading my literary efforts, Bless her.

Kind regards.

Sorry, Tracy, I missed this question earlier.

No, the Immobilier was/still is French. At that time, he was a struggling Immobilier with a very small new business. He speaks excellent English, is very charming, and, within two years of our proceedings starting, his business was booming. He now has 4 Immo outlets in 4 different towns.

Must have won the Loto!

Kind regards.

Hi Vicky,

Bless you, thank you very much. At this time, we really do not have the foggiest idea about what else to do if we don't keep fighting! We can't live in the house, most of the habitable section is legally contracted to the tenant for his sole use. We can't eject the tenant. Having spent our life savings battling for justice, we no longer have the funds to make the house habitable even if the tenant suddenly ups and rides off into the sunset - nice thought, but not likely, methinks!

So, yes, we will follow your excellent advice and keep fighting for as long as we can. My husband and I are not getting any younger, he has severe emphysema and chronic asthma, I'm diabetic with a dicky ticker! However, while we draw breath, we will not stop battling for justice unless we receive evidence that we can legally go no further.

Kind regards.

Hi Jane,

Thank you very much for your support and kindness. I looked into the possibility of taking our Case down the SOLVIT route some months ago. If folks wonder if I spend a lot of my time researching legal avenues relevant to vice caché Cases, they're right, I do! But, I'm not paranoid, honestly!

Breaching of internal market rules does not include maladministration within judicial systems - much is the pity!

But, that doesn't mean to say there isn't a way forward where a challenge on grounds of maladministration within the French judicial system is concerned. That is certainly an aspect my family and I have been seriously investigating during recent years.

Kind regards.

Hi Jo,

Thank you for the warm welcome and your support. I would join you for that brandy if I were not diabetic, so, please, have one for me, too!

The ECHR, Strasbourg, has already knocked us back, with no leave to Appeal!

The Cour de Cassation Bureau d'Aide told the ECHR they had not received any documents to support our Legal Aid application. Of course they had received the documents, we sent them all LRAR, with copies also sent to the ECHR - LRAR! Both packages were received and signatures support that fact.

However, as was pointed out to us by a clerk, we proved we had posted envelopes LRAR to the Bureau d'Aide and the envelopes were received, but we could not prove the envelopes contained the documents! Therefore, it was our word against the word of the Bureau d'Aide. The ECHR Judge accepted the Bureau d'Aide's word - although the ECHR had received copies of the same documents that we sent to the Bureau d'Aide! Yes, we were, initially. But, that's when we realised, finally, that justice is far more elusive than anyone could ever envisage!

We will be contacting the Defenseur des Droits later today, Jo. I will let you know how we get on.

Kind regards.

Hi Doreen,

Very many thanks for the link. We were contacted by the 'Homes from Hell' team three or four years ago. My cousin, living in Middlesex, had contacted them and alerted them to our situation.

Unfortunately, following communication between us, they decided our case was too big and would not appeal to their targeted audience.

However, my family and I are not faint-hearted, we will contact Laura Stevens and try again! I will let you know how we get on.

Kind regards.

My goodness Chrissie - and I thought I had problems! This is an absolute shocker and my heart goes out to you. I'm no expert on French or European law I'm afraid, but evidently something is gravely amiss with the legal system here. This stinks of fraud, corruption, collusion, gross incompetence and some! The only advice I can offer is hang in there,hit them as haard as you can and go for max publicity, naming and shaming wherever possible! Chuck out updated press releases, contact newspaper & magazine journalists, tv companies etc and keep the story live. Will keep my ear to the ground should I hear of anyone or anything that could help. The very best of luck to you, love & thoughts xx

Hi Chrissie,
I am no legal expert, but I want to say how much I admire you for your determination and hope you get a final realisation of this in your favour.
I am wondering if somewhere in all this sorry mess that the case of mail administration does not come I to play?
If so, have a look at your Europe advice on the net which is a branch of the EU which takes up cases of maladmininistration between people of one member EU country being denied their rights by Nother EU member country. Your case is considered and then, if they think there is something to answer, it is passed to SOLVIT and they have the power to take the offending body to task. The result of each case is, however, personal, but if there are such a large number of foreign nationals affected and they each put in a case, they must surely look at this in a different way!

Once again I was stuffed by the 15 review time and my changes to the original post were lost.

Re my comment about whether it happened to French people as well or just foreigners, I noticed that you did mention French. I am also now reading your blog, which is more outspoken than your comments here and certainly reflects my impressions.

"Accordance with the instructions of the Court, your file will be destroyed within one year from the date of the decision."

I think you need to get hold of that file and the original contents, before they destroy it. It would be better to retrieve it in person, if you can.

I applaud your perseverance, courage and dare I say stiff upper lip in the face of such adversity.

Final thought. If you could gather all or most of the 106 families together with supporters and march on the Elysee Palace, that would be a media event which nobody could ignore.