Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The LGO: A legal way to pervert the course of justice?

Although most people are aware that Local Government Ombudsmen can't determine a complainants legal and human rights (only a court can do that) many people don't actually realise that Local Government Ombudsmen don't even attempt to identify any legal or human rights issues involved in their complaint let alone do anything about them during the course of an investigation.

This can lead to frightening miscarriages of justice for those complainants who are unaware of this critical fact. Many complaints, as mine does, consists of more than just simple maladministration, they also include potential legal and human rights issues. However, the Local Government Ombudsman only seeks to identify (and then remedy) simple maladministration and overlooks any legal and human rights issues.

Whether the Local Government Ombudsman finds the council guilty of a maladministration or not is irrelevant. The problem is that most complaints naively accept a Local Government Ombudsman's findings as final and, one way or another, an the end of their complaint. They wrongly assume that the Ombudsman has addressed all the issues involved in their complaint. What makes matters worse is that Local Government Ombudsmen do little if anything to advertise the fact that their involvement is concerned only with maladministration. Once the Ombudsman's investigation is over most Councils then use the Ombudsman's report to support their unlawful actions.

Ironically a council is also guilty of maladministration for any infringement of your legal or human rights. However, Local Government Ombudsmen can ignore them with impunity until they have been determined in a court of law.

Therefore, there is a catch 22 situation. A council infringes (or threatens to infringe) your legal or human rights, the Local Government Ombudsman can and does ignore them until they are determined in a court of law. Up to that point, no matter how compelling the evidence, the Local Government Ombudsman can argue they are mere allegations and ignore them. Once determined in a court of law they will of course also become an act of maladministration but once that has been done just what purpose do Local Government Ombudsmn serve?

Fact: With a Local Government Ombudsman a council can be found not guilty of maladministration whilst still remaining (potentially) guilty of infringing your legal and/or human rights. With the courts this situation could never happen because unlike a Local Government Ombudsman they can't ignore your legal and human rights before reaching a decision.

When the LGO state they are an alternative to court they are attempting to con the public. Don't let them con you! If this practice was perpetrated by an individual or private organisation they would be guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

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