Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Human Rights

The Honourable Mr Justice Lightman gave a lecture during March 2001. Although his lecture was essentially about the Pensions Ombudsman many of the issues he addressed are valid for all Public Service Ombudsmen.

'The European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act give greater significance and attention to the legal process and its adequacy to afford a fair trial. It is the duty of the State to provide such a process: it is no longer sufficient to require the public to make do with a procedure which falls short but affords something better than nothing. There are serious questions whether proceedings before the Ombudsman meet the requirements satisfactorily;'

'..the existing judicial jurisdiction of the Ombudsman raises serious questions regarding compliance with the Human Rights Act and (for this and other reasons) should be transferred to a tribunal; and that the constitution of the tribunal should be such that as to make available all necessary expertise not present in proceedings before the Ombudsman...'

Five years later and the Government has still not done anything about it!

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