Woman's ancient 'Clameur de Haro' rejected by Guernsey court

Credit: ITV Channel TV

A woman who performed an ancient ‘Clameur de Haro’ in Guernsey yesterday has had her bid rejected.

Rosie Henderson adopted the Norman ritual in an attempt to stop road works at Les Echelons.

Despite her plea, her submission was thrown out due to the land in question being owned by the States.

But how much do you know about this ancient Channel Island law?

  • What is it?

The Clamour de Haro is a form of immediate legal injunction and is used when someone’s possession of land is disturbed or interfered with.

It is described as a cry for justice and involves an aggrieved party, known as the ‘criant’, the alleged ‘wrongdoer’ and two witnesses.

The criant drops to their knees, clasps their hands and, in the presence of two witnesses, declares the Clameur:

“Haro! Haro! Haro! A l’aide mon Prince, on me fait tort”

(“Haro! Haro! Haro! Come to my aide my Prince, I am being wronged”)

Once the Clameur has been raised, the wrongdoer must stop what they are doing until the matter is addressed by the Royal Court.

  • Where does it come from?

The Clameur is a law specific to the Channel Islands.

Before the Channel Islands became a possession of the English Crown in 1066, they were (and still are) part of the Duchy of Normandy.

For this reason, many local laws descend from customary Norman law, dating back around 1,000 years.

Though the majority have since been scrapped, many remain - including the Clameur de Haro.

  • What does it mean today?

Today the Clameur de Haro is rarely used but is still a fully enforceable law in Jersey and Guernsey.

The decision to either accept or deny the Haro is made by the court but has been known to be overruled by the States.

Rosie Henderson says more islanders should exercise their rights through this ancient system...