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Lawyers vow to fight on after High Court rejects Brexit challenge

Lawyers plan to appeal to the Supreme Court after High Court rejects challenge to 15 year rule by Britons living in the EU

28 April 2016

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Lawyers acting for two British citizens fighting a legal battle for the right to vote in the EU Referendum have confirmed they will seek leave to appeal direct to the Supreme Court against the judgment by two High Court judges rejecting their challenge.

The High Court hearing into the rights of up to 2 million Britons in Europe to vote in the EU referendum took place on Wednesday 20th April 2016. The case was taken by 94-year-old Harry Shindler, a Second World War veteran who lives in Italy, and lawyer and Belgian resident Jacquelyn MacLennan.

Lawyers for the two argued that under the EU Referendum Act 2015 they are being unlawfully denied the right to vote on the UK’s continued membership of the EU as the legislation excludes British people who have lived elsewhere in the European Union for more than 15 years, from voting in June.

They told the Court that if the vote in June is to leave the EU then all British citizens will lose their status as EU citizens. This means that those British citizens living outside the UK but in the EU will become “resident aliens” living and working abroad under sufferance rather than by right and no longer able to claim the protections of EU law .

Brexit illn 3The Court also heard arguments that the ’15 year rule’ acted as a penalty against British citizens for having exercised their free movement rights. The rule prevented them from participating in a democratic process, the result of which might bring to an end the very EU law rights on which they rely and base their working and private lives every day.

However Lord Justice Lloyd Jones and Mr. Justice Blake stated in today’s ruling that they accepted the Government’s claims that there were: “…significant practical difficulties about adopting especially for this referendum a new electoral register which includes non-resident British citizens whose last residence the United Kingdom was more than 15 years ago.” [Para 57]

They continued: “In our view, Parliament could legitimately take the view that electors who satisfy the test of closeness of connection set by the 15 year rule form an appropriate group to vote on the question whether the United Kingdom should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union.” [Para 58]

Following the judgment Richard Stein, the lawyer from Leigh Day representing the claimants, said: “We are obviously disappointed that the High Court has denied us the opportunity to challenge the decision by the Government to exclude British citizens from the EU referendum.

“We now intend to take the legal battle to the Supreme Court, the highest Court in the country, so that all British citizens living elsewhere in the EU can be part of the democratic process to vote in this referendum which will have a very real impact on their lives.

“We believe that there is precedent for fast track legislation being put through Parliament in a matter of days in response to court judgment, so there would be no need for the referendum to be delayed if the Supreme Court rules in our favour.

“Since this is a vote in a referendum rather than in an election there is no need to link the votes of Britons in Europe to any particular constituency in the UK. Possession of a British passport should be enough.”

In response to the judgment, Jacquelyn MacLennan said: “The Government made a manifesto commitment to enfranchise all British citizens, no matter how long they have been abroad saying that they thought that “choosing 15 years, as opposed to 14 or 16 years, is inherently like sticking a dart in a dartboard” and that . . . “if British citizens maintain British citizenship that brings with it rights, obligations and a connection with this country, and that that should endure. We just want the Government to keep its promises.”

Information was correct at time of publishing.

5th May is Consoude day – in the French Republican calendar !

402OpenerMay16Consoude’s (comfrey in English) traditional names of knitbone, boneset and the derivation of its Latin name Symphytum (from the Greek symphis, meaning growing together of bones, and phyton, a plant), speak to its longstanding reputation as a therapeutic herb.

Comfrey was historically used to treat a wide variety of ailments ranging from bronchial problems, broken bones, sprains, arthritis, gastric and varicose ulcers, severe burns, acne and other skin conditions.

It was reputed to have bone and teeth building properties in children, and have value in treating “many female disorders”.

Your French Bookcase . . .

Want to help your child with their French?

Children’s books Toby’s Tails – Still Wagging and Toby’s Tails – The Chicken Patrol originally available in English, are now available in French also. Ideal for helping your child to learn the language. All the Toby’s Tails books are available from (and all other Amazon sites) in Paperback and Kindle formats.

Les livres pour enfants Toby et Compagnie – Ca bouge toujours! et Toby et Compagnie – Le Mystere du Poulailler sont maintenant disponibles en français, traduit par Emilie Baudrez.

Toby et Compagnie – Ca bouge toujours!

51nMB5-QsgL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“Ça bouge toujours poursuit les aventures de Toby le Border Collie dans la Ferme Fantastique, la petite ferme où il a grandi. Dans cette suite merveilleuse de Toby et Compagnie, le lecteur, jeune ou moins jeune peut se réjouir de retrouver toute la ferme de Toby ainsi que les animaux sauvages du premier livre, et d’en découvrir d’autres encore.

C’est amusant à lire et en même temps éducatif, alors pourquoi ne pas accepter l’invitation à rejoindre Toby et sa maman humaine, l’auteur, alors qu’ils découvrent tant de nouvelles choses sur la nature et accueillent de nouveaux animaux et oiseaux dans la ménagerie grandissante de la Ferme Fantasique.



Toby et Compagnie – Le Mystere du Poulailler

french chicken patrol coverUne nouvelle aventure passionnante avec Toby le Border Collie.

Bulle la poule est dans tous ses états, elle a perdu son poussin.

De retour dans la cour, Benji le coq convoque une réunion.

Est-ce que ce serait un renard, et si oui, que peut-on faire?

Est-ce que Toby le Border Collie peut les aider?

Découvrez dans cette aventure captivante, si Toby va pouvoir rétablir la tranquillité et la sécurité dans la Ferme Fantastique.



I will also happily sign, message, and send out copies of any of my books if you contact me directly at the Toby’s Tails Facebook page


by Susan Keefe

Author of the Toby’s Tails series of children’s books.


British citizens living in EU granted leave to appeal in Brexit challenge

3 May 2016

The High Court has given permission for lawyers acting for two British citizens, fighting a legal battle for the right to vote in the EU Referendum, to take their case to the Court of Appeal.

On Thursday (28 April 2016) two High Court judges rejected the legal challenge taken by 94-year-old Harry Shindler, a Second World War veteran who lives in Italy, and lawyer and Belgian resident Jacquelyn MacLennan against the UK Government’s decision to exclude British people who have lived elsewhere in the European Union for more than 15 years, from voting in June.

Lawyers from law firm Leigh Day argued that under the EU Referendum Act 2015 up to 2 million British citizens are being unlawfully denied the right to vote on the UK’s continued membership of the EU.

They told the Court that if the vote in June is to leave the EU then all British citizens will lose their status as EU citizens. This means that those British citizens living outside the UK but in the EU will become “resident aliens” living and working abroad under sufferance rather than by right and no longer able to claim the protections of EU law .

The Court also heard arguments that the ’15 year rule’ acted as a penalty against British citizens for having exercised their free movement rights. The rule prevented them from participating in a democratic process, the result of which might bring to an end the very EU law rights on which they rely and base their working and private lives every day.

Lawyers are seeking an expedited hearing at the Court of Appeal to hear the challenge to the High Court ruling within the next few weeks.


How a Basque brought relaxation to France

by Peter Clucas

Sophrology is big in France and less known in the UK. What is it and who invented it?

6202816-9267048.jpgCombining Western and Eastern relaxation techniques for mind and body, sophrologists help their clients through stressful times. It was developed by Professor Alfonso Caycedo, a Colombian Neuro-Psychiatrist, in 1960’s. He was originally of Basque descent and much of the development of the practice was developed in Spain, from whence it spread to France and Italy.

If you’ve ever experienced ante-natal classes, yoga, transcendental meditation or self-hypnosis you will be familiar with some of the feelings associated with sophrology. The difference would appear to be in the application. Sophrologists can tackle specific issues such as stage fright in actors or motivation in sports or general issues such as depression. Often referred to by that over-used word: holistic. It really is a combined mind and body de-stress technique.

Like other practitioners, sophrologists need a period of training prior to qualification. See for more information.


How will French Succession Tax affect your heirs?

By Rob Kay, Senior Partner, Blevins Franks

Like UK inheritance tax, French succession tax is a tax on gifts and inheritances but there are considerable differences. It is important to spend a little time understanding how it affects you if you have moved to France or bought property here.

If you are resident in France, any worldwide assets you give away on death or as a gift are liable to succession tax. Any assets you own in France, such as property, are always subject to this tax, regardless of whether you or the recipient lives here.

Who does the tax affect?

French succession tax is calculated on, and paid by, each individual who receives the assets, whether by way of a lifetime gift or as a bequest (unlike the UK, where the estate pays the tax).

Transfers between spouses and PACS (civil) partners on death are tax free, but lifetime gifts are not. For everyone else, rates and allowances vary according to their relationship to you in terms of bloodline and marriage. The more distant the relative, the higher the tax rate.
Under the UK/France Double Tax Treaty, long-term French residents are deemed to be domiciled in France for UK inheritance tax purposes. This means that if you are resident in France when you die, your worldwide estate will be taxable in France, not in the UK. Assets in the UK are however always assessable for UK inheritance tax, though you will receive a credit in France for any tax paid in the UK.
What your heirs can expect to pay

Tax rates for children (including adopted but not step-children) and other relatives in the direct line start at 5% for inheritances under €8,072 and rise in stages to 45% for inheritances over €1,805,677. The same rates apply to spouses or PACS partners in the case of gifts.

Under the current rules, your children will each receive a tax-free allowance of €100,000 per parent. There is also an exemption for outright cash gifts of up to €31,865 per recipient where the gift is made to a child, grandchild or, if there is no direct line descendant, niece or nephew. If you make a lifetime gift to your spouse, they receive an allowance of €80,724.

The value of your main home can be reduced by 20% for succession tax purposes, but only if it is occupied as a main home by your surviving spouse/partner or by one of your children.

If you leave assets to a brother or sister, they will pay succession tax at either 35% or 45%, depending on the amount. Their tax-free allowance is just €15,932. However, if a sibling has been living with you for the past five years or is over 50 or unable to work because of a disability, they benefit from the same rules as spouses.

Relatives to the fourth degree pay tax at 55%, with nephews and nieces receiving a €7,967 allowance. Everyone else will lose 60% of their inheritance to tax, and their tax-free exemption is just €1,594. Also, unmarried partners who have not entered into a PACS arrangement, as well as step-children and god-children, are classed as non-relatives.

What about grandchildren?

Rates between grandchildren/grandparents are the same as for parents/children but the allowance is limited to €31,865, and only applies to lifetime gifts. The outright cash gifts exemption of up to €31,865 also applies to gifts to grandchildren.

The rules governing bequests to grandchildren and the potential tax exemptions can be complicated. It is best to seek advice from someone with knowledge in this area.

EU succession law

The new EU succession regulation, ‘Brussels IV’, which allows you to choose which country’s law applies on death, does not cover taxation – you cannot choose UK inheritance tax instead of French succession tax. If you leave assets to relatives beyond the direct line, or non-relatives, they will have to pay very high tax rates, up to 60%, as outlined above.

There are arrangements you can use in France that offer considerable succession tax savings. They can provide other tax benefits, such as lowering your tax liabilities on your investment income and gains. Seek expert advice so that more of your money will go to your beneficiaries and less to the taxman.

Succession tax is a key part of estate planning, but not the only part. You need to carefully consider whether you want UK or French succession law to apply to your estate; how you would like assets to pass to your chosen heirs; probate considerations and how you can make the whole inheritance process as easy for your heirs as possible. This is a specialist area and you need advice that is personalised for you and your family.

Tax rates, scope and reliefs may change. Any statements concerning taxation are based upon our understanding of current taxation laws and practices, which are subject to change. Tax information has been summarised; an individual is advised to seek personalised advice.

To keep in touch with the latest developments in the offshore world, check out the latest news on our website


May’s Bookshelf

From a Broken Land (The Broken Throne)

by William R. Herr

Product Details

In his epic debut science fiction/fantasy novel, the first book in the ‘Broken Throne’ series, William R. Herr has created an imaginary Kingdom, where battles are fought against a terrible, evil, enemy, one which can be seen only as shadows, and mist.

The story opens as a horrific blight sweeps through the lands, killing everyone and thing. In desperation, Cardinal Richmond sends, Gidon, a soldier and church emissary on a quest, one he is not expected to return from… he must travel to the land of Hammat, find a seer, and beg for aid against the blight.

Then there is Kiranae, a princess, fleeing from an evil prince with the help of her aunt the Countess Elna Damarc. To escape capture she finds herself freely entering the mist, not knowing what her fate will be.

The future however sees her stumbling from the forest in front of Gidon, Tenant, Seer Renault, and Guard Rinkins, on their quest, travelling through a land facing disaster and fighting the creatures in the shadows.

Fate it seems has thrown them together, and as this epic adventure unfolds there are fierce battles, terrible creatures, and untold dangers ahead for the group.

However, fate dictates that Kira and her aunt are to be reunited. When this happens, secrets are revealed which could change everything.

The author has created an amazing kingdom, with well-defined characters and a fantastic plot with danger, excitement, twists, and a hint of romance. Reading it, one very quickly becomes absorbed into the story, so much so that it is very difficult to put down. I highly recommend it for lovers of science fiction, fantasy and of course adventure.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon:


Please Hold

by Tricia Stewart Shiu

Product Details

This book is just such compelling reading, I just could not put it down.

We all have been victims of haughty secretaries, the ones who guard their boss better than the most highly trained Rottweiler. Treat him like he is God, and they are the handmaiden honoured to be in his presence – when he needs something.

Perhaps you have been there, got the tee-shirt as they say. Or, have you ever considered what it was like to be that person, the executive assistant, at his beck and call? What are the women in these positions REALLY like? What did they have to sacrifice to get there?

Well, this book gives us a fly on the wall peak inside. The main character in this extremely entertaining story is Sarah Marks. At the beginning of the story she is assistant to Lance Cheroux, one of the Executive Vice Presidents of worldwide Feature Productions.

The saying that those who listen at doors only hear ill, is certainly true for Sarah when she overhears two ‘friends’ discussing her imminent transfer to the dreaded Building 99. Apparently, however, the rumours are true, Mr Cheroux’s career is about to take a tumble, and she is there, right alongside him. So they are caste out to the farthest reaches of the lot, somewhere only talked about in whispers.

Sarah is a complex young woman, hardworking and dedicated to her career, how can this be happening to her, she asks, her mentor Mary Tyler Moore. Someone she talks to all the time.

Why Mary Tyler Moore? Well Sarah has a troubled childhood, drunken father, eternally young mother… but the Mary Tyler Moore show was always there, offering advice, with Mary being a role model. So, who can blame a girl if she idolises her, literally…

However, the trials and tribulations of executive office life offer a bundle of laughs as we learn more and more about Sarah, her hopes, her dreams, and what makes her tick. We follow her as she rises from the ashes and is resurrected into the higher echelons once again.

That her life is difficult is an understatement. As we walk in her shoes, we finally understand what it is like to be an executive assistant in this high flying world, dealing with rivalry and back stabbing from all directions, oh, and of course those dreaded blisters from wearing high heels every day.

This is the first book by award winning author Tricia Stewart Shiu I have read, but it certainly won’t be the last, I just loved every page!

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon:


The Paladins of Naretia

by T. P. Keane

Product Details

Fantasy at its best!

Set to be the fantasy book of the year, this first novel by author TP Keane is an extraordinary story, full of dark forces, unimaginable dangers, and it is set in the fantasy kingdom of Naretia.

The story is told by Olórin, a three hundred year old wizard, and a young queen called Aria. An unusual combination you may think, perhaps… but this is no ordinary story…

Aramus is the adopted son of Olórin, a very old wizard. Aramus is like no other, he is a strange creature, with darkness inside, feared by all in the kingdom, since it is foretold that by his 18th birthday, Aramus will have ended all life.

Olórin knows that he must use all his powers to save Aramus. He must find the otherworldly ingredients necessary to make a potion to save him, before his 18th birthday, or his real father, the dark God Dantet, will send his army to seize Aramus’s powers.

These powers will set Dantet free to walk on mortal soil again, and no one, and nothing, will be safe.

With traitorous wizards trying to thwart him, facing real danger from Dantet’s dark army, and threats from other places, will Olórin succeed?

Who can he trust?

Will Olórin’s faith in their bond be enough to steer Aramus from the darkness?

This is an amazing story which I am sure all fantasy lovers will adore. I look forward to book 2.

Reviewed by Susan Keefe

Available from Amazon


Tour de Manche, a unique cycling adventure that links France and England

Two cross-border routes are described here: Tour de Manche (blue line on the map) and Petit Tour de Manche (red line).

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Tour de Manche is a 1200km long itinerary; following the coastline of Brittany through the famous Pink Granite Coast and Cap Fréhel. It links up Brittany and Normandy to Dorset and Devon, two counties of South-West England boasting some of the most glorious seaviews and countryside.

Petit Tour de Manche, 450km, is an epic journey along part of the Dorset Jurassic Coast and across the Channel to the Mont St-Michel, both sites classified as world heritage by UNESCO. Offering a visit of the Emerald Coast, the Vire Valley and one of France’s  Regional Parks, you can  stopover in beautiful Jersey or go on to discover the D-Day Beaches of Normandy.


On a roll : Brittany Ferries figures reveal surge in cyclists

Brittany Ferries has seen a significant rise in the number of people taking advantage of excellent cycle routes in France and Spain. In four years, the number of individual bikes carried by the premium, cross-channel service grew 30% to 20,024. The number of passengers travelling by car with bike racks attached to their vehicles has also soared, from 26,626 to 39,537, a rise of 50%.

Individual bikes/cyclists Cars with bike racks
2011 15,442 26,626
2012 14,875 25,882
2013 17,466 30,812
2014 18,721 33,639
2015 20,024 39,537

“We’ve seen a strong increase in demand from cyclists in recent years, and we’re expecting that to continue,” commented Mike Bevens Brittany Ferries group commercial director. “In the next couple of months, the global spotlight will turn to Normandy and the Grand Départ of the Tour de France at the Mont St Michel. Our services to Cherbourg, St Malo and Caen are filling up fast, so cycling fans will need to move as quickly as the peloton to book a crossing and experience this magnificent spectacle.”

27479_blog_post_bannerRegular sailings to Cherbourg from Poole and Portsmouth, and departures to St Malo and Caen, are already busy. But on 3 July, Brittany Ferries’ fast-ferry Normandie Express and Bretagne which sails to St Malo have been re-scheduled to provide a full day trip experience. Barfleur’s evening departure from Cherbourg has also been extended, which allows more opportunity for a mix and match of routes, for example for those arriving in St Malo and departing Cherbourg.

Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome have won three of the last four events. And for those inspired by these two-wheeled heroes, Brittany Ferries has launched an enticing pre-tour cycle package. For £178 two people can take a car and a free bike rack on services to France, and enjoy up to four days away. Their prize on arrival: quiet country roads, beautiful scenery as their backdrop and the chance to ride the Tour de France stages one to three, before the event begins.

For those who want to travel under their own steam the price is even lower. Cyclists can stay away for £59 return or £29 for children. Both deals are available for travel between 14 April and 10 May, terms and conditions apply:

Beyond the Tour de France, the ‘hexagon’ is well known as cycle-friendly country with quiet roads and courteous drivers. It boasts a huge variety of routes dedicated to pedal power, including La Vélodyssée which stretches from Brittany Ferries’ port of Roscoff the length of the Atlantic coast to Hendaye on the Spanish border. Alternatively there’s France’s newest route, La Vélo Francette, which starts in Brittany Ferries’ port of Ouistreham (Caen) and runs 630 km all the way to La Rochelle on the Atlantic coast. See for more.

Staying in France is also easy and can be booked through the Brittany Ferries website, which includes a number of ferry-inclusive gite, hotel and apartment breaks. An 27396_blog_post_banneralternative is to search properties on the Holiday France Direct website This includes a number of mouth-watering properties that lie along or close to the route of this year’s Tour with accommodation to suit individuals, families and groups of friends.

Examples include*:

Stage 1 Grand Depart: Mont St Michel to Utah Beach

Grandcamp Gite, situated in Grandcamp-les-Bains, is fully equipped with a shared pool. In all there are four one bedroom cottages individually decorated and suitable for two – although additional beds can be added by request. Easily accessed from either Caen or Cherbourg ports, this gite is perfectly sited for the tour: it’s just 5km from the coast and 8km from atmospheric Omaha beach.

Stage 2 Saint Lô to Cherbourg

Just 25 minutes from Cherbourg and close to D-Day beaches, La Grange at La Mare Chappey is a large three bedroom property with a variety of amenities to suit a family audience. This includes a heated swimming pool, hot tub, free wi-fi and even a bouncy castle.

Stage 3 Granville to Angers

Sleeping up to six people, the old converted watermill at Villedieu-les-Poeles dates from 1643, but was fully refurbished in 1992. It’s 40 minutes from Granville and 50 minutes from Mont St Michel and 90 minutes drive from the port at Cherbourg.


easyJet puts Winter flights across Europe on sale up until 5 February 2017


easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, has put Winter 2016 on sale meaning that flights across Europe are now on sale until 5 February 2017.Over 110,000 flights are set to take place across easyJet’s network between 30 October 2016 and 5 February 2017 providing more than 18 million seats.

Of these, more than 10 million seats are now on sale to and from the UK on 62,000 flights. Customers can look forward to low fares by booking early at

Sophie Dekkers, easyJet’s UK Director, said: 

“We’re really pleased to be putting our flights for Winter 2016 on sale today. Passengers can look forward to even more low fares to Europe’s best beach, city and ski destinations.

“For those who are looking for inspiration on where to go on their break, our Inspire Me app available on our website helps travellers to find flights tailored to their budget and travel dates.”

easyJet has bases across 11 UK airports and flies to more than 800 routes on its network across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Customers can look forward to a number of routes to destinations such as:

Belfast to London Gatwick from £25.49*

Bristol to Reykjavik (Iceland) from £26.24*

Edinburgh to Stuttgart from £35.49*

Edinburgh to Paris Charles de Gaulle from £31.49*

Glasgow to Berlin from £27.49*

Manchester to Copenhagen from £18.24*

Newcastle to Barcelona from £26.24* 

London Southend to Paris Charles de Gaulle from £18.62*

London Gatwick to Venice from £32.24* 

*Fares per person, one way, based on two people travelling on the same booking. 

To book flights or for more information visit

easyJet holidays have also launched holidays up until 5 February 2017 with an offer of £45 off per booking for holidays of 5 nights or more using promo code: WINTER17. This applies to bookings made by 4th May 2016 for Travel between 30 October and 31 January 2017.


Expat Dating have been online for one year now and have a SPECIAL OFFER of 10 Euro membership offer to celebrate !

427 ExPat Dating Nov