Clameur de haro

Clameur de haro

The Clameur de Haro is an ancient legal injunction of restraint employed by a person that believes they are being wronged by another at that moment. It survives as a fully enforceable law to this day in the Channel Islands, and is used, though infrequently, for matters affecting land.


Based in Norman law, it is often thought to be a plea for justice to Rollo of Normandy, the 10th century founder of the Duchy of Normandy, interpolated into a contraction of "Ha-Rollo". The view that it is a plea to Rollo is now believed to be incorrect. 'Harrow' meaning 'give chase' was commonly used in medieval England and France as a cry to others to drop what they were doing and assist in the apprehension of a miscreant. It survives in English hunting parlance as 'Halloo' and possibly in the word 'harrier' as a name for a runner.


The procedure is performed on one's knees before witnesses, in the presence of the wrong-doer and in the location of the offence. The "Criant" with his hand in the air must call out -

"Haro! Haro! Haro! À l'aide, mon Prince, on me fait tort."
(Hear me! Hear me! Hear me! Come to my aid, my Prince, for someone does me wrong.)

Following this, the Criant must recite the Lord's Prayer in French.

On hearing this, the alleged wrong-doer must cease their challenged activities until the matter is adjudicated in court. Failure to stop will lead to the imposition of a fine, whether they were in the right or not. If the Criant is found to have called Haro without a valid reason, they in turn must pay a penalty.

The Clameur in Guernsey requires that a Grace be said after the Lord's Prayer:

"La Grâce de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ;
la dilection de Dieu, et la communication de Saint Esprit
soit avec nous tous éternellement. Amen.


  • Dawes, Advocate Gordon, Laws of Guernsey, 433 p. (Hart Publishing, 2003). ISBN 1841133965

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