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Dare We Even Begin To Hope?

This morning, we received a letter from the Ordre des Avocats at the Cour de Toulouse, aka the Regional Law Society that is investigating the incompetence of our first and third solicitors, Maitre MA and Maitre AB, respectively.

We were very surprised to receive the response so quickly, but we are delighted! We’re not sure if the Post Office will be open tomorrow morning, as tomorrow will be a public holiday – at least, the afternoon will be a public holiday, ie All Saints Day. However, if we can’t post our response to the Ordre des Avocats tomorrow morning, we will get it off on Saturday, or Monday at the latest. In the cover letter received, we have been asked to submit any evidence we might have to further support our complaints made against Maitre MA.

Pas de problème!

When our response, with any evidence, is received by the Ordre des Avocats, a decision will be made by them regarding our complaints against Maitre MA. We don’t know for sure, but we think Maitre AB may well have already passed our file to the Ordre des Avocats.

The cover letter was accompanied by a copy of Maitre MA’s response to the complaints we have laid against him. Here’s the gist of his response.

He stated that our house Case was complicated, but he said he had collated sufficient evidence for our Grand l’Instance hearing to proceed in our favour, and he also stated that his hard work had benefited his former Cabinet (Company).

Really? We disagree.

We will provide evidence to the Ordre des Avocats proving conclusively that Maitre MA did not obtain the following witnesses’ Attestations (Statements) and documents for presenting to the Grand l’Instance Court. Without the presentation of the following Attestations and documents, vital evidence, we didn’t stand a remote chance of winning at the Grand l’Instance:

  1. The architect’s Attestation – he had offered to provide Maitre MA with the documents and Plannings drawn up in April 2007 that confirmed we would not proceed with the purchase if we could not have a lift installed in the garage to take us to the first floor. Maitre MA was given contact details, but did not contact the architect, he did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

  2. Madame B’s Attestation (a French neighbour) – she had offered to confirm that she translated for Tom and me when we attempted to return to the notaire, during the afternoon on the Thursday that we completed our property purchase, but she was emphatically told by the notaire’s secretary that the notaire had left the office and would be away on holiday for two weeks. Madame B had also offered to confirm that she translated for Tom and me when we returned to the notaire, two weeks later, to complain about the presence of Monsieur C in the property, also to complain that we could not have the lift installed as Monsieur C was adamant that he had sole use of the garage. Madame B could have added a lot of weight to our vice caché evidence and the fact that the notaire was not prepared to consider the facts, ie primarily, that she had been instrumental in permitting a vice caché situation. Maitre MA was given her contact details, but did not even contact Madame B, he did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

  3. Monsieur C’s Attestation – he had offered to provide documents to Maitre MA, ie copies of his rental contract and household insurance policy, to prove he had been an existing tenant of our sellers, Monsieur and Madame T, for a period of eight years before we purchased the property that was signed over to us as being free of constraints and for our use only. Maitre MA was given contact details, but did not even contact Monsieur C, he did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

  4. Copies of the medical documents we had to hand to prove that we required, as a matter of undeniable necessity, the means to traverse the property from ground to first floor without using stairs, ie the lift installation was an essential requirement by us if we were to proceed with the property purchase. Copies of the documents should have been presented with the architect’s supporting documents and Plannings to the justices at the Grand l’Instance Court hearing. We told Maitre MA (in writing) that we had the medical documents, but he advised us that he did not need to use them. Of course he did, as was proved when those documents were presented to the Cour d’Appel in Riom over a year later, after the Grand l’Instance hearing. Maitre MA did not obtain the evidence and it was not presented to the Grand l’Instance Court!

 Maitre MA admitted in his response to the Ordre des Avocats that he had been dismissed by his previous Cabinet, but he did not confirm the reason(s). He chose not to respond to our complaints about his incompetence.

In his response, Maitre MA chose to throw blame for our missing Deeds at our third avocat, Maitre AB. However, he admitted that he received the Deeds from us. Our second avocat, Maitre JJ, stated that the Deeds were not immediately found in our file when she dismissed Maitre MA and took on our Case herself, but she added that our file was very bulky and she may have missed the Deeds during her first search, she said she would look again once she had collated the new evidence (as I have given above) for Appeal presentation. Maitre JJ was admitted to hospital for emergency surgery just a few days before our Appeal was heard. Sadly, we now know she did not recover. Therefore, the Deeds are, either, still in the file, or, they were lost by Maitre MA and were never passed to our third avocat, Maitre AB – her incompetence lies in the fact that she did not return our file to us, with or without our Deeds.

We will confirm the above in our response to the Ordres des Avocats.

Maitre MA confirmed in his response that we had paid all fees in full. He denied sending us further bills for additional work that he had not done. But, copies of those extra bills are in our file (we have the originals stored at the house), ie the file that Maitre AB did not return to us when we requested. Also in our file are the letters we sent to Maitre JJ, with copies of the bills, in which we complained about being sent additional bills by Maitre MA for work that was not clarified.

I mustn’t forget, in our file, there is also copy of the coup de grace that stopped Maitre MA’s money-grabbing shenanigans and contributed to his dismissal – ie the letter we received from our second avocat, Maitre JJ, aka Maitre MA’s boss, from whom he had very recently parted company, in which she told us we were not to pay any further bills sent to us by Maitre MA.

As it appears possible that the Ordre des Avocats have now received our file from Maitre AB, we’re fairly certain they will have more than enough evidence of incompetence and lies to consider!

Are you confused? If not, can you please assist us with deciphering the text above so that we can write our response to the Ordre des Avocats? Chuckle!

We really would like to begin hoping, but, with complete honesty, I can tell you we dare not! 

 
7 Comments

Posted by on October 31, 2013 in World

 

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Ok, So Patience Is A Virtue!

On the 24 April 2013, Tom and I posted a letter to the ECHR, Strasbourg, politely requesting the return of our house Case file. We need to send the file to the EUCJ with our application for that Court’s consideration of the facts, as follows in chronological order:

We lost our first Tribunal in Aurillac in 2008 because our first avocat failed to collate the main evidence for presentation to the justices. That avocat was dismissed by his boss on grounds of his ‘incompetences’.

Patience!

We lost our Appeal in Riom in 2009, despite the Court ‘recognising the fraud and arrogance’ of our sellers and despite the notaire having her ‘wrists slapped’ for her incompetence. The justices decided there was no French law that they could use to find in our favour; the justices decided the notaire was ‘young and inexperienced’.

Patience!

In July 2010, the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide decided we would not be granted Legal Aid because (they said) we had not given them the necessary evidence of our financial means. Lies – we sent copies of everything we had to the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide, plus copies of the same evidence to the ECHR. On each occasion, we received the LRAR receipt to show our mail had been received by the intended recipients. But, when challenged by us, a Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide clerk commented that the envelopes might have been delivered, but it was not proof that they contained anything!

Patience! 

There are major facts for the EUCJ to consider with regard to the latter point, ie we were not informed by our (third) avocat, nor by our ‘specialist’ Cour de Cassation avocat, nor by the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide that our application for Legal Aid had been finally rejected!

In February 2013, the ECHR passed Judgement that we had failed to send necessary documentation to the Cour de Cassation Bureau d’Aide. What!

Patience! 

The ECHR made no Judgement whatever regarding our complaint that our human rights have been persistently breached throughout the years from 2007 to date.

Patience!

On 24 April 2013, Tom and I sent a letter (LRAR, of course!) to the ECHR requesting the return of our house Case file. We had been advised by SOLVIT that our Case can be considered by the EUCJ on grounds outlined above. However, there is a time limit and, to date, we have not received our file from the ECHR. In fact, the ECHR has not yet even acknowledged receiving our letter!

Patience!

According to a staunchly Christian late great-aunt of mine, patience is one of the seven heavenly virtues that balance the scales alongside the seven deadly sins. Well, we consider that we have been patient for nearly six long, very difficult years and we are taking our lead from a favourite author of mine, Laurell K Hamilton.

“Patience is a virtue, but there comes a moment when you must stop being patient and take the day by the throat and shake it. If it fights back; fine. I’d rather end up bloody at the end of the day, than unhurt with no progress made, no knowledge gained. I’d rather have a no, then nothing. I’d forgotten that about myself.”

Today, we will be posting a brief, probably rather terse, reminder to the ECHR demanding (yep, demanding!) that they return our house Case file to us by no later than 10 June 2013. If we don’t receive that file before or on 10 June 2013, we will approach the EUCJ without the file, but with an additional complaint.

Blimey, we’re getting brave!

 
25 Comments

Posted by on May 23, 2013 in World

 

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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! 😉

 
24 Comments

Posted by on March 23, 2013 in World

 

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Lies, Lies, No End Of Lies

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.

Eh?

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. 

 
26 Comments

Posted by on January 3, 2013 in World

 

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Lies Laid Bare

Until our second avocat, Julia, received our resident locataire’s Attestation (sworn Statement), she seriously doubted we had sufficient hard evidence to win our Appeal. One of our witnesses, Madame B, had responded to Julia’s request for an Attestation with a letter addressed to Tom and me. In the letter, Madame B emphatically refused to give evidence for us, and she concluded by writing that she would consider any further contact from us or our avocat, to be harassment.

Who is Madame B? Madame B is a retired businesswoman who moved into Champagnac during the same month that we completed our property purchase in the village. She is a French national who had spent some 30 years living in the UK with her British husband, they were divorced and she moved back to France to be near her elderly mother. One side of Madame B’s family originated from Russia, the other side from the Champagnac commune. Madame B speaks fluent English as well as her mother tongue, also Russian. When she heard about our immediate concerns, in the village Bar/Café-Tabac-Presse during the evening of the day we had completed our purchase and had discovered the deception, she immediately offered to accompany us to the notaire’s office to translate for us, when the notaire returned from her holiday. Madame B did accompany us to the notaire’s office, and she translated for us. When the notaire telephoned our sellers, putting the telephone in loudspeaker mode to speak with seller, Madame T, and asked her if she or her husband had given Monsieur C a rental Contract, the response was, “Non.” The notaire asked our seller the same question twice, the response was emphatically, “Non”, both times. The notaire then asked Madame T if she or her husband had rented the garage to Monsieur C, the response was shouted, “Non, he is a liar!”. The notaire thanked Madame T, disconnected the call, looked at Tom and me and said she could not help us, but she would “speak with the sellers and persuade them to offer” us “some compensation” for our “inconvenience”. The notaire also advised us to “sue the Immobilier”.

Madame B gave her contact details to us and urged us to pass them to our avocat, We followed through and Monsieur MA said he would contact Madame B and request her Attestation. He had never contacted her. I asked Julia if Madame B could be subpoenaed, or a French equivalent. She shook her head and told us Madame B would probably just say she could not remember, it was two years ago.

Monsieur MA had never contacted the resident locataire, Monsieur C, either! Julia contacted him by post and he replied immediately, telling her he had been waiting for our avocat to contact him since July 2007. Within days of making contact with Monsieur C, Julia telephoned us to say she had received a wonderful Attestation from Monsieur C, via his avocat, plus documentation that included copy of his Rental Contract. The Rental Contract covered Monsieur C’s apartment, sole use of ‘Mon Garage’, sole use of one of the three cellars, sole use of a rear courtyard outbuilding, and sole use of a measured, designated section of the loft. All documents had been endorsed by our sellers, ie Madame T. Included with the documents was a copy of Monsieur C’s Contents Insurance, and copies of every Contents Insurance Policy that he had renewed each year during his tenancy. There was also copy of a letter from the insurance company, it confirmed copies of Monsieur C’s annual contents insurance renewals had been sent to Madame T each January during his long period of tenancy, until 2008 when their client had informed them of the property change of ownership.

Julia told us that was the evidence we needed to prove our Case against our sellers, it was conclusive beyond all doubt. That evidence, together with our pre-Sale Contract, signed by both parties, and which stated that we had sole use and enjoyment of the property, was more than sufficient to prove the sale was fraudulent, in French law and terminology, a vice caché.

That’s when we dared to start hoping we were seeing light at the end of that long, dark tunnel. How very wrong we were!

 

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