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They Can’t Keep Good Hobos Down!

What a week it has been, more ups and downs than some fairgrounds can offer! Family and I have sunk into the depths of despair, we have rocketed up to virtually float on the highest cirrus clouds, and we have moved into the weekend with a balanced level of cautious hope in our hearts.

Yet again, good friends have provided us with unreserved support, kindness, encouragement and sincere offers of as much help as they can possibly give. So many people, who we didn’t know and who didn’t know of us before this week, have offered advice, guidance, kindness, information and support. Yes, we live in what can be a very cruel world, but, this week, we re-discovered the good that is also in this world! Good that is probably often smothered by the big selling power of bad news.

Receiving the knock-back from the ECHR sent me scurrying on a mission to find out if we could still take our house Case to the Cour de Cassation. I could not believe that all the fraud, corruption and injustice would win the day. Without doubt, I started this week looking and feeling at least twenty years older than I am! But, when I looked at the utter despair on the drawn, grey faces of Tom and Paul, I knew I had to make an effort to find a way to raise hope.

This is how we have survived the past few years. When one or other of us is down, the others pick up the fallen Hobo! On this occasion we were all down, but it took only one of us to get the ball of hope rolling again and to crank up momentum!

Grandson, of course, was totally oblivious to our very heavy sense of defeat; we ensure that he is always protected from this aspect of what we know as ‘real life’. He is too young to be burdened with such pain, sadness and futility.

After publishing my last blog post, I received so many messages from folks who were genuinely astonished by the fact that the ECHR had accepted the blatant lies issued by the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide. Until the day I draw my last breath I will know that I did submit all documentation required to assess our total global income for Legal Aid. Nothing will change that fact.

One of the messages was sent by Catharine Higginson of SFN (Survive France Network). Catharine kindly invited me to post about our house Case situation in the specific SFN Group where there is an adviser with grounded legal knowledge. My first thought was that s/he might not want to become embroiled in our complex saga! But, I followed Catharine’s advice and posted a brief summary of events covering the years from July 2007 to the day, this year, when we received that shocking news from the ECHR.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

I had posted links to my most recently published blog on Hobos In France Forum (HIFF), on Facebook, in the Hobos Facebook Group and on Twitter – my usual practice. Although I didn’t post a link in my SFN summary, I soon discovered that several SFN members were already following my blog; some had subscribed, as long ago as January 2012, to receive notification of new blog posts as and when they are published. Within hours of publishing my new blog post, I was contacted by a wonderful gentleman who offered me access to his subscription to a website offering bona fide legal advice on any matter of law, including French law. My family’s benefactor wishes to remain anonymous, he knows who he is and we will always remain indebted to him.

I gratefully accepted the offer and my first question was submitted to the website experts. Briefly, are we able to have our Case heard at the Cour de Cassation if we pay the (approximately) 4000€ to 6000€ legal fees to our (third) avocat and the specialist Cour de Cassation avocat? The reply was, ‘No.’ We were out of time eight weeks after the Riom Cour d’Appel Judgement was given in December 2009, although that was extended to July 2010, as we discovered this year!

Whatever, the Bureau d’Aide had received the essential documents well before even the July deadline!

The legal expert who answered my questions is a Paris Court Judge. He went on to comment that he could not understand why we were offered opportunity by the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide to re-apply for legal aid in October 2012.

I didn’t go into details, but I did include the fact that the Riom Cour d’Appel Judgement included the statement about recognising the fraud of the sellers, and, further, that the Court stated it had no French law in place to enable the justices to give a Judgement in our favour.

I then asked the Judge if there is a Court that might consider our Case, other than the ECHR?

The reply came back very quickly, yes, the EUCJ will consider our Case.

I returned to the Judge with one last question, are we out of time to take our Case to the EUCJ?

The reply arrived within a few (rather nerve-wracking!) hours. Given the circumstances, ‘No’, he did not believe our Case would be ruled by the EUCJ as being out of time. In my next blog post, I will be able to let folks know what the EUCJ can do about our situation.

So, our Case is going, as swiftly as possible, to the EUCJ in Luxembourg. Voila!

I have much to do, including arranging the retrieval of our file from the ECHR. That mini forest contains all the evidence of the treatment my family and I have been subjected to throughout the (almost) six years that we have lived in France.

In the meantime, RSI, that superbly efficient representative of worst bureaucratic practice, has lost the two S1 forms that we posted (LRAR) at the beginning of this month! In the same envelope, we placed all necessary copy documents, including the two S1 forms and the completed form that is relevant to my RSI issued carte vitale. Tom is legally entitled to ‘piggyback’ on my carte vitale until we move over to CPAM at the end of April. We’re dreading the changeover, I make no bones about that!

Yes, I know, how can we expect better bureaucratic administration, we live in France! Chuckle!

But, one day, they will all realise the fact that they can’t keep good Hobos down!

Now, where is that ‘wink’ Smilie! 😉

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Posted by on March 23, 2013 in World

 

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Pension? What Pension?

Against a fair few odds, I think, family and I had watched my 60th birthday roll in at the beginning of October 2009. Obviously, it was a low key celebration, and, to be honest, having received no birthday cards from family in the UK – a parcel of cards was en route from Champagnac, but it didn’t arrive until several days after my birthday – I was feeling rather quiet. Tom and I had also celebrated our Silver Wedding Anniversary just days before. 2009 will forever be known by us as the celebrations year that wasn’t!

However, by March 2010, I was still not receiving my pensions, and the rest of our savings were gushing away like water out of a broken pipe! I had applied for my pensions in June 2009. Not receiving any acknowledgement by August 2009, as I had requested, I wrote to enquire if that large brown envelope had arrived. I heard nothing, so I telephoned Newcastle. The large brown envelope had not been received! “Complete it on-line.” advised the very pleasant lass on the other end of the phone. I tried three times using the on-line service, without success, my application just wasn’t accepted, so I downloaded the documents and tried again. It was fortunate that I had an extra copy each of my Birth Certificate and Tom’s and my Marriage Certificate.

By the end of October 2009, I still had not received acknowledgement, so I telephoned Newcastle yet again and spoke with another pleasant lass. Once more, I was advised that the large brown envelope had not arrived. I then had to wait for more copies of Birth Certificate and Marriage Certificate, before I could re-apply for my pensions.

At the end of January 2010, Tom physically took the next big brown envelope filled with documents to a JobCentre Plus near his youngest brother’s home in London! Incredibly, when I telephoned towards the end of March, having not received an acknowledgement, a very pleasant lass advised me that my pensions application, and formal documents, had indeed arrived on her desk, but they had then “been misplaced.”!

By that time, I was feeling rather upset by the fiasco, and I contacted the office of (then) MEP Caroline Lucas. Her PA was horrified and told me she would pass all details to Caroline within 24 hours – Caroline Lucas was, at that time, preparing to represent the Green Party at the forthcoming General Election, and she was only days away from stepping down as an MEP in order to become an MP/Leader of the Green Party for England and Wales. I have never voted for the Green Party, yet, Caroline Lucas took up the fight for my pensions – and, whether the threat alone was enough, I don’t know, but Newcastle went into overdrive and I received my pensions backlog within days! Touch wood, my pensions have continued to arrive in the UK bank account every four weeks since then. But, it was a very close shave!

At this point, I would just like to acknowledge the unconditional help, support and kindness of two close friends, ie Diane and Natalie; without them, food and medication would have been very scarce during two weeks, specifically! The words, ‘thank you’, are never enough, but those two little words come from the hearts of family and me.

Buoyed up and in fighting mode, I emailed our avocat, Alexandra, and I asked her if she would please ‘look over’ our application to the European Court of Human Rights, before I posted it to Strasbourg. By the beginning of June, we had not received a response, and we never did receive a response! I posted the application.

A few days later, we received a brief notice from the ECHR, Strasbourg, to say our application had been filed at the Court on 10th June 2010, Tom’s 64th birthday.

 

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The Plot Thickens

Monsieur MA, the avocat, had patiently listened as we told him everything. I asked him if our property insurance policy might cover us for payment of any legal fees, he said he would look at our policy and let us know. In the meantime, we were to send all relevant documents to him, he would assess and let us know if we had a case for claiming back our money and moving on. Within an hour, we were standing at the photocopier in the village La Poste copying some 60+ documents. The originals had to be sent to Monsieur MA, but we kept copies, as you do! The documents were posted to Monsieur MA, we have never seen them since.

We crossed the road between La Poste and our property, heading back – couldn’t look at the house, we both felt sick. As we approached the front door, Madame A, the hairdresser, called us into the shop, she looked worried. Madame A congratulated us on our purchase and asked us if we had been informed about her planned departure in December. We confirmed that we had been informed, but she still looked worried. She then asked us if we had been informed about the sale of her business. Tom and I just shook our heads, I asked Madame A how the sale of her business was relevant to us. She then told us she had sold her rental Lease to another hairdresser who would be working with her from late October until the hand-over planned for December; she added that she had informed the Immo months before, ie before we paid the purchase deposit for the house.

I asked Madame A for a copy of the Contract between her and her Lease buyer, she immediately went into the back of the shop, took a document from a filing cabinet and handed it to me. It was an Attestation, and the sale had been agreed by the proprietor, Madame T, aka the female half of our sellers, around the date when we had made our formal offer to buy the property. I pointed out to Madame A that an Attestation is not a Contract of Sale. She nodded and explained that the Contract was held by the notaire. I asked her for the notaire’s contact details, she wrote down the information – her acting notaire was the same notaire who had conducted our property purchase! With great difficulty, Tom and I thanked Madame A and returned to the telephone to contact avocat Monsieur MA, he was out of the office. We posted a copy of Madame A’s Attestation to the avocat.

Later that day, our architect, Monsieur G, contacted us and asked if we could visit his office before 5pm, if convenient. We confirmed we would be there by 4:30pm, wondering if something else was going to slap us in the face before bedtime! Not a bad guess, as things turned out! Reality of life!

Architect, Monsieur G, confided to us about his long association with the Immo, they had even gone to school together. He also cautioned us about the Immo’s ‘less than honest business style’. Apparently, the Immo had contacted Monsieur G that morning, by telephone, and had asked if we intended to continue with the renovation works. Monsieur G told us he had made clear to the Immo that it was not his business to know anything about our intentions or expectations. Monsieur G then made us coffee and we told him the entire story to that date. He told us he was not at all surprised, pointed out certain facts about the commissioned works (I will clarify later) and offered his full support. We gratefully accepted that offer.

Monsieur G eventually offered hard evidence to support us for two Tribunal (Court) hearings spanning 2+ years. His documentary evidence was not presented to the first Tribunal, that was due to Monsieur MA and his incompetence – incompetence that led to him being dismissed by his Boss. But, that’s another story! Monsieur G’s hard evidence was largely ignored by the Appeal Court in December 2009.

 

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