Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Process V Merit

The LGO cannot determine any of your civil rights, they can only look for maladministration. A council can infringe your civil rights and still be found not guilty of maladministration by the LGO.

All the council has to do is mislead the LGO. For example, if they state they have taken legal advice on the subject under investigation the LGO cannot question the validity of the advice nor find them guilty of maladministration. It's a neat trick and often used by a council because it moves the argument out of 'the process of making a decision arena', which is LGO territory, into 'the merits of a decision arena', which is outside the LGO's jurisdiction.

Unfortunately, this is where the majority of complainants give up. They accept the LGO's findings as final when they are not. A council can be found not guilty of maladministration but still be found guilty of breaching your civil rights. If you go to court the legal issues the ombudsman could not determine can and will be addressed. This is where the trick can be exposed, for a Judge can and will determine your civil rights and decide whether the council is guilty of infringing them. For they look at the legality of a council's actions rather than at the process or merits of their decisions.

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