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More trouble in France

The other French story concerns Sarko’s legal axewoman Rachida Dati, the very sexy but somewhat dangerous minister of justice. She’s got herself into trouble by initially defending the judgment of a court in Lille, which granted annulment of a marriage on the basis that the wife, who had claimed to be a virgin, had lied. As it happens, both parties were Muslims.

Dati had to backtrack quickly when it turned out that the whole of France including her boss disagreed with her, and thought the judgment outrageous. And then yesterday she raised the temperature by attacking the opposition socialists (there’s a video here), and the failure of their integration policies. Phew! Sarko is standing by her: it looks as though she’s safe.

It seems part of her motivation has been that at least this type of ruling frees girls from marriages they may want out of. Dati herself got out of a marriage by means of an annulment earlier in her life, it seems. The whole business was discussed on Woman’s Hour this morning.

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  1. AP had a go at explaining the legal concepts and how they fit in to the French Civil Code. There is an article in the code which allows that if one were deceived as to an ‘essential quality’ of a partner, this could be grounds for an annulment.

    This case isn’t about virginity (yeah, like, right) but about truthfulness. That is, the bride agrees she was not truthful about a matter and that quality of untruthfulness is contrary to the essential quality the groom was led to rely on. It isn’t actually contract law, but you can see how close it is. It is possible the court went further than the claimant ever intended in mentioning the ‘v’ word.

    On the other hand, if you are going to go about annuling marriages on the basis that some French persons may not be wholly truthful all the time…

    Here’s the article.
    Virgin-marriage ruling shocks France, By Elaine Ganley,
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS