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X AND Y V. FRANCE

THE CASE FOR A LEGAL PRECEDENT

Monday 5 January 2009

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English] [français]

"X and Y v. FRANCE : The Case for a Legal Precedent ", a performance in which Sylvia Preuss-Laussinotte and Sébastien Canevet, two lawyers adress imaginary judges of the Grand Chamber of the European Court for Human Rights representing an undocumented migrant (X) to reverse the state decision to deporte them. Their defence is that X is the author and the bearer of an intangible, ongoing art work created in collaboration with a European artist (Y).

"X and Y v. Prefect of ... : The Case for a Legal Precedent", Centre Pompidou, Paris, 9 nov 2009, Extract - English subtitles from Bernier Martin on Vimeo.

X and Y v. France : The Case for a Legal Precedent is the staging of A Project for Setting a Legal Precedent developed by Patrick Bernier and Olive Martin during their residency at Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, an art centre located in a suburb of Paris with a largely working class and immigrant community.

The project evolved out of a short novel written by Patrick Bernier in 2004 entitled A Tale for Creating a Legal Precedent, in which a foreign woman defends her right to reside in France in front of a judge, arguing that she is the co-author, guardian, and performer of an intangible art work.

Considering that French and EU lawmakers are constantly restricting immigrants’ rights on the one hand, and zealously expanding the domain of copyright on the other hand, Bernier and Martin set out to make their fictional scenario a template for real social action. With Sebastien Canevet and Sylvia Preuss-Laussinotte, two lawyers specialising respectively in intellectual property rights and immigrants’ rights, they developed a legal argument intended to be used by undocumented migrants and their legal representatives.

Before ever being presented in a real court, a model of the counsel’s speech is performed by the two lawyers, Canevet and Preuss-Laussinotte, on various occasions, each time developed further and the ideas made accessible to new audiences.

Although the imaginary case is brought before the European Court, concerning the whole European community, it is based on French law and current French politics situation, and so the presentation would be performed in French with a simultaneous English and/or German ... translation, as is provided in the real European Court.

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