Freshfields associate quits for SJ Berwin in Brussels

A PARIS lawyer has lodged a complaint with the European Commission against the UK and Guernsey over her treatment at the hands of a Guernsey magistrates' court.

Monique Fauchon claims she was wrongfully refused permission to address Guernsey Magistrates' Court last summer when she was representing a French fisherman who was fined £10,000 for illegally fishing in Channel Island Waters. She also alleges that the fisherman was illegally detained in custody for more than 24 hours.

Fauchon went to Guernsey to represent the fisherman after he was arrested while fishing east of Sark, just one mile the wrong side of the line which separates the Guernsey fishing grounds from French waters.

During the court hearing, when the fisherman admitted illegally fishing, Fauchon was permitted to sit alongside the Guernsey advocate who represented her, but was refused permission to address the court.

She claims that under the treaty of Rome any EU lawyer may practice in an EU court provided they are accompanied by a member of the local bar.

Fauchon also maintains that UK law and not Guernsey law should have applied to the case, as the offence took place in UK not Guernsey waters. The self-governing Channel Islands, although part of the UK, are not part of the EU. “Guernsey has no sovereignty, no ambassadors and is not a state,” she said. “British law and not Guernsey law must be applied in cases involving British and EU waters.”

Fauchon, who travelled to Brussels to lodge her complaint and said she has been assured the commission will consider it, also informed the Law Society of the complaint.