Equality Rights group GGR - Citizenship in Democracy EQUALITY RIGHTS GGR

News and Information from Gibraltar on Equality, Human, Gay and Social Rights

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

GGR calls for Judicial Review Fund

Equality Rights group GGR is calling for the establishment of a Judicial Review Fund to be set up as an independent legal charity or trust, according to a press release today.

Chairman Felix Alvarez stated that “It is fundamental to democracy that Government be subject to the review of the Courts in order to avoid the possible abuse of administrative power. Individual citizens are often impotent to curtail Government’s powers in a situation where it costs them far too much money to afford the court case and where additionally, in case of failure to win their case, they face enormous costs to be paid to the other side – which in this situation is no less a party than Government itself! In the UK there are organisations with funds set up in order to help challenge key issues which have an important effect on the rights of citizens. Without that help it is doubtful whether very many important legal advances would actually have been made. In Gibraltar we have no such resource and this is to the detriment of our society and to our freedoms. We have recently seen in the Heritage Trust and South District Association’s cases that they had to withdraw from challenging Government due to precisely this problem. GGR is aware of other cases which also require justice but the issue of money gets in the way and so it is that, in a society with a Constitution and a belief in democratic values such as Gibraltar, individuals just have no option for justice. Government, ofcourse, is aware of the inability of individuals and organisations to take up their issues in the Courts and this reinforces its position. The upshot of all this is that the present system just isn’t good enough and both leads to a very real gap in our system of redress and encourages Government to proceed in the near certainty that it cannot be challenged! It is time we did something to balance this situation by ensuring that justice is available to all citizens – and in particular when challenging the might of Government,” Mr Alvarez said.

“I am therefore calling on all individuals, associations and representatives of legal firms interested in furthering human rights in Gibraltar who wish to take this matter forward to contact me on gibgayrights@yahoo.co.uk in order to start exploring together the establishment of an independent and properly administered fund via an objective, independent and impartial body.”