Today, we received the latest kick in the teeth from the French justice system. Our forwarded mail arrived this morning, I was dreading its arrival and I make no secret of that fact! Well, once again, my dread was justified. Among the usual bills, ie property taxes, Social Charge, RSI demands, etc, was a letter from the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide (French Supreme Court Legal Aid Office). The letter was accompanied by an application form for Legal Aid, and a demand for copies of all the documents we had submitted in 2010.
Our good friend, Kay, with whom we are currently living until our next pet/house sitting project starts, took one look at my stricken face and held out her hand for the envelope and its devastating contents. I passed it all over without a word and Kay read through it – she speaks, reads and writes French fluently, doesn’t need Google.
Between cups of tea with lashings of (my) anguish, we determined a plan of action. Kay telephoned the Bureau d’Aide and was advised that the person with whom she needed to speak would be in the office from 3pm, not before. So, Kay telephoned our avocat, Alexandra, who said she would need to recover our vice caché file from her archive, could we please email our request to her for documents we required. That was that.
Next, Kay telephoned the office of our Paris specialist Cour de Cassation avocat. No joy, the clerk couldn’t find our file.
By this time, I was in a real panic and, being in the throes of the second stage of a rotten ‘flu bug, was also feeling far from well. But, by far the most pressing stress was the thought of letting Tom know something had obviously gone drastically wrong. Tom’s health deteriorated rapidly before Christmas, he also has the rotten ‘flu bug on top of COPD, aka emphysema and chronic bronchial asthma. He feels worse than I do.
Several litres of tea later, Kay telephoned the Bureau d’Aide just after 3pm and spoke with the she-god she had been advised was ‘in the know’, or words to that effect. As soon as Kay mentioned our last name (it used to bear the description ‘surname’ before that seemingly became politically incorrect), the she-god’s voice rose alarmingly and she wouldn’t let Kay get a word in edge-ways, never mind an entire sentence.
The she-god told Kay we had made a new application for Legal Aid in October 2012. Lie.
Kay swiftly refuted the lie and the she-god told her we had not submitted any of the requested documents to support our 2010 Legal Aid application. Lie.
Kay very quickly refuted the second lie and the she-god became louder and more abrupt by the second. The she-god also told Kay we had been sent a letter (by her office) in October 2012 telling us about ‘the decision’. She added that the letter had been sent LRAR (Registered post) to us at our house that’s not a home.
Kay managed to get a few words in sideways when the she-god took a breath, and she told the she-god that we could not have received an LRAR letter at the house because we can’t live there – a fact that is known by all concerned, including the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide. She then asked what we could do to further our Cour de Cassation Appeal. The she-god replied with an audible Gallic Shrug (they’re quite easily identified when one is well acquainted with them), ‘They’re out of time. What do you want me to do about it?’
Kay asked the she-god to send copy of the LRAR letter to us at her address. The she-god sounded quite panic-stricken when she virtually shouted, ‘No’. She then loudly hung up her phone and disconnected any opportunity for Kay to make further enquiries!
So, battle-weary but still determined, Kay again telephoned our specialist avocat’s office. Oh joy! They had found our Case file! From our file, the clerk determined that our application for Legal Aid had been rejected in July 2010 on grounds that we had not submitted the necessary evidence of income. Lie.
We were never informed, and we have been waiting for a Cour de Cassation Hearing date that was never going to materialise, as things stand.
Where do we go from here? Well, firstly, we need to know what the ECHR makes of these latest antics. In my letter to the ECHR, I have stressed that the documents sent to the Bureau d’Aide in 2010 were all posted LRAR, and I have also reminded the ECHR that they have copies of those same documents.
It would not be logical for us to make a new application for Legal Aid when we already had an application on file and had not received anything to suggest our application had been rejected. The she-god stated that we had made a new application in October 2012. Yet, when Kay asked her to send us a copy of our alleged request, the she-god angrily refused! Of course she can’t send a copy to us, a copy doesn’t exist, an original doesn’t exist!
Our letter to the ECHR will be posted tomorrow morning – LRAR, of course! In the meantime, Kay has emailed the specialist avocat to ask why he did not inform us in July 2010 when our Legal Aid application was allegedly rejected. She has also asked him why he had not challenged that decision as he was fully aware that we had submitted the necessary proof of income documents to the Bureau d’Aide – he (or, at least, his office) received copies of said documents.
Rather strange, don’t you think, that nobody contacted us about our so-called out of time Legal Aid application between 2010 and 2012, but the Legal Aid Office were happy to allow us to submit a new application in October 2012?
A very happy New Year to all who read my blog, I wish you good health and much happiness throughout 2013. Thank you very much for your continued support.