Guernsey backed on French lawyer's ban

The UK Government has defended a decision by the Guernsey authorities not to allow a French lawyer to appear in the island's Magistrates' Court.

The decision follows a request by the European Commission to comment on the case after it had received complaints from the lawyer, Paris-based Monique Fauchon, and the Paris Bar.

Fauchon had been prevented from representing her client, Granville-based fisherman Jean-Pierre Leverier, when he was fined £10,000 for illegally fishing in Channel Island waters.

She argued that this contravened the Treaty of Rome, which allowed lawyers to appear in an EU court provided they are accompanied by a member of the local Bar.

The Home Office, however, told the Commission that the UK fully supported the original decision, made by Guernsey's Deputy-Bailiff, Vic Carey.

A spokesman said that only Guernsey advocates could represent clients in a Guernsey court and pointed out that Fauchon was no worse off than any English or Scottish lawyer seeking to appear before the courts on the island.

It is not yet clear if the UK Government's observations will bring an end to the matter, as Fauchon indicated that she would take the matter to the European Court if her request for action by the Commission came to nothing.

'We have no information as to how, when or if the Commission might respond to Mme Fauchon,' added the Home Office spokesman.