Clameur de Haro
Clameur de Haro is an ancient saying that anyone who believes they are being wronged can utter for the purpose of having the wrongdoing stopped. It still has legal standing in Guernsey and the other Channel Islands.
It needs to be said directly to the wrongdoer and in front of at least two witnesses. It must then be lodged formally, in writing, at the Greffier, within 24 hours.
The core saying is short, but it must be followed by the Lord’s Prayer and, in Guernsey but not the other islands, a Grace, as follows:
Haro! Haro! Haro! A l’aide, mon Prince, on me fait tort.
Notre Père qui est aux cieux. Ton nom soit sanctifié. Ton règne vienne. Ta volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel. Donne-nous aujourd’hui notre pain quotidien. Et nous pardonne nos offenses, comme nous pardonnons à ceux qui nous ont offensés. Et ne nous induis point en tentation, mais délivre-nous du mal.
La Grâce de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ,
la dilection de Dieu et la sanctification de Saint Esprit
soit avec nous tous éternellement. Amen.
The Clameur comprises the whole of the text, but the most interesting part is the opening line, which translates as ‘Hear me! Hear me! Hear me! Come to my aid, my Prince, for someone does me wrong’.
In The Sarnian
Remus Carey uses the Clameur de Haro in book 2, Blowfish, when he’s falling from a boat. However, it wouldn’t have counted, even if he had any chance of Marie Budzinski, to whom he called, understanding: there were no witnesses and he wouldn’t have been able to lodge the complaint formally.
Modern day usage
The Clameur de Haro may seem outdated, but it’s still an acceptable legal device available for use on Guernsey. When used it is often in cases of dispute over land.
- A Guernsey couple attempted to use it in 2010 to stop the bank repossessing their property but the Deputy Bailiff refused to uphold it because the bank was deemed not to be doing wrong.
- In 2016, a campaigner intended to use it to prevent the relocation of a war memorial.
- A man read the Clameur de Haro in December 2016 to prevent planning officers removing a derelict car from his property.
Beyond the law
Clameur de Haro is also the name of a Guernsey-based bluegrass band.