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Using the courts to further democracy?


cry freedom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2,400
The country is crying out for leadership and good government!
The opposition are hopeless and offer no new way forward.
The rest of us sit on our hands and whine that somebody should be doing something about it.
Forming a new party has been suggested on several occasions but the history of new parties in this country leaves a lot to be desired.
My idea is that we should use the courts to hold politicians and administrations to account.
If enough of the people of this country cared enough to give a euro per head per week to a fund, the purpose of which would be to haul the powers that be before the courts to account for 4 or 5 of their decisions per year, then we might get somewhere.
For instance, if some organization or individual had the money and the inclination to take an action against the government over the continued storage of the now useless e-voting machines for instance, would the present legal set -up allow them to bring a case?
We need a third tier of democracy.
The Dail is corrupt and moribund!
The Seanad are next to useless and a waste of money
Could the courts be used to clean the whole sorry mess up, give it a good kick in the arse and set it on a clean, efficient path.
Lest you worry, I speak as someone who has a healthy skepticism of lawyers and judges also.
 
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cry freedom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2,400
The country is crying out for leadership and good government!
The opposition are hopeless and offer no new way forward.
The rest of us sit on our hands and whine that somebody should be doing something about it.
Forming a new party has been suggested on several occasions but the history of new parties in this country leaves a lot to be desired.
My idea is that we should use the courts to hold politicians and administrations to account.
If enough of the people of this country cared enough to give a euro per head per week to a fund, the purpose of which would be to haul the powers that be before the courts to account for 4 or 5 of their decisions per year, then we might get somewhere.
For instance, if some organization or individual had the money and the inclination to take an action against the government over the continued storage of the now useless e-voting machines for instance, would the present legal set -up allow them to bring a case?
We need a third tier of democracy.
The Dail is corrupt and moribund!
The Seanad are next to useless and a waste of money
Could the courts be used to clean the whole sorry mess up, give it a good kick in the arse and set it on a clean, efficient path.
Lest you worry, I speak as someone who has a healthy skepticism of lawyers and judges also.
No takers eh?
Come on gang.
The idea can't be that bad.
Or is it? :-(
 

Rocky

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 9, 2004
Messages
8,550
The country is crying out for leadership and good government!
The opposition are hopeless and offer no new way forward.
The rest of us sit on our hands and whine that somebody should be doing something about it.
Forming a new party has been suggested on several occasions but the history of new parties in this country leaves a lot to be desired.
My idea is that we should use the courts to hold politicians and administrations to account.
If enough of the people of this country cared enough to give a euro per head per week to a fund, the purpose of which would be to haul the powers that be before the courts to account for 4 or 5 of their decisions per year, then we might get somewhere.
For instance, if some organization or individual had the money and the inclination to take an action against the government over the continued storage of the now useless e-voting machines for instance, would the present legal set -up allow them to bring a case?
We need a third tier of democracy.
The Dail is corrupt and moribund!
The Seanad are next to useless and a waste of money
Could the courts be used to clean the whole sorry mess up, give it a good kick in the arse and set it on a clean, efficient path.
Lest you worry, I speak as someone who has a healthy skepticism of lawyers and judges also.
The courts can only ensure the implementation of the laws that the Oireachtas makes and prevent the Constitution being broken. It can't create laws.

Someone could take a case against e-voting machines, but they'd lose because it isn't illegal or unconstitutional. The government also gets brought in front of the courts all the time. A developer (can't think of his name) is currently doing it right now.
 

DeputyEdo

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 9, 2010
Messages
3,462
So you want to bring the people who make the laws to court?
I can see that working out well.

with regard to the e-voting....what would they be going to court for? wasting money? being idiots?....I don't think either of them is against the law
 
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
89
Why has nobody sued Michael Fingleton. Each taxpayer is contributing €2500 to bailing out Irish Nationwide. Irish Nationwide was run into the ground by Fingers.

So if a person was to take a district court case would they win?

Is there a duty of care? Arguably there is.

It was reasonably forseeable that the taxpayer would bail out the society in the event of a failure.

And I don't think it a stretch to argue that his behaviour could be regarded as negligent.

One test case would be very, very interesting.
 

farnaby

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
1,967
It's a good idea. The govt obey the letter of the law and Constitution i.e. if they want to do something not strictly illegal or unconstitutional, they reckon it's ok. (Same applies to expense claims btw). They need to be challenged vigourously on this level if there is a way to do so.

You'd need a very strong test case, and I doubt e-voting machines would do it. I've raised here the fact that the govt has breached article 45 of the constitution regarding social policy, but unfortunatly that is a matter for the Oireachtas not the courts.
 

corelli

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
Messages
4,478
Why has nobody sued Michael Fingleton. Each taxpayer is contributing €2500 to bailing out Irish Nationwide. Irish Nationwide was run into the ground by Fingers.

So if a person was to take a district court case would they win?

Is there a duty of care? Arguably there is.

It was reasonably forseeable that the taxpayer would bail out the society in the event of a failure.

And I don't think it a stretch to argue that his behaviour could be regarded as negligent.

One test case would be very, very interesting.
As it was not, at the time, a State company, Fingleton owes/owed the taxpayer no duty of care whatsoever. Additionally, the State did not HAVE to bail it out. So, you would go down in flames is the short answer.
 

He3

Moderator
Joined
Oct 1, 2008
Messages
17,094
The Courts sank Zoe among others, when every other institution of State stood idly by.

Have a look at Bust - Dearbhal McDonald's new book on some of what has been achieved there. Not all roses but far from useless.

Then have a look at The Rule of Law by Tom Bingham.

Then find a good lawyer.
 

cry freedom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2,400
Okay, okay, the voting machines is a bad example.
Let me try another tack.
As we speak the government are ploughing ahead with their plans to build the new children's hospital at the Mater. They have spent considerable amounts of public money on consultant's fees advising them to build it on that site. Yet they arrogantly refuse to let the bill payer read the reports.
Could a court case be used to pry that information out of them.
I would be basing this on the [perhaps naive] assumption that the government and the people freely entered into a contract at the last elections.
If a contract between the people and the state could be proved to exist then perhaps a different view might be taken by the powers that be with regard to their responsibilities thereunder.
Its toe in the water time here folks.
From little acorns etc...
In post no 3 Rocky made the very valid point about the private individual, Paddy McKillen, taking NAMA to the high court.
While this case is very interesting, I just feel that the idea of an organization , democratic and broadly based, taking the govt up the steps would have a far more therapeutic effect than a mear individual working in his own,[admittedly legitimate] self interest.
 
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ManUnited

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
5,221
The country is crying out for leadership and good government!
The opposition are hopeless and offer no new way forward.
The rest of us sit on our hands and whine that somebody should be doing something about it.
Forming a new party has been suggested on several occasions but the history of new parties in this country leaves a lot to be desired.
My idea is that we should use the courts to hold politicians and administrations to account.
If enough of the people of this country cared enough to give a euro per head per week to a fund, the purpose of which would be to haul the powers that be before the courts to account for 4 or 5 of their decisions per year, then we might get somewhere.
For instance, if some organization or individual had the money and the inclination to take an action against the government over the continued storage of the now useless e-voting machines for instance, would the present legal set -up allow them to bring a case?
We need a third tier of democracy.
The Dail is corrupt and moribund!
The Seanad are next to useless and a waste of money
Could the courts be used to clean the whole sorry mess up, give it a good kick in the arse and set it on a clean, efficient path.
Lest you worry, I speak as someone who has a healthy skepticism of lawyers and judges also.
You are ignoring the doctrine of the separation of powers, as spelt out in the constitution.Even if the court could do what you suggest, all you would achieve is replacing an elected government with an unelected,unrepresentative body that can't be removed from office.
 

cry freedom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2,400
You are ignoring the doctrine of the separation of powers, as spelt out in the constitution.Even if the court could do what you suggest, all you would achieve is replacing an elected government with an unelected,unrepresentative body that can't be removed from office.
The separation of powers is only a sort of Chinese wall.
On several occasions the courts have forced the state to take courses of action they found inconvenient.
At the moment we have an unelected [as far as the electorate is concerned] senate which should be doing this job but are singularly failing.
How about an "Internet electorate" to replace them.
The power of this organization would be directly proportional to its numbers and the revenue [max one euro per week per IP address] it could collect.
Where would lie the danger to democracy?
If the balloon really went up over one of these cases a general elections or a referendum could sort it out and return the status quo, if that is what the people desired.
After a few bloody noses the government might decide to accept the inevitable and serve the people as they should.
 
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
89
As it was not, at the time, a State company, Fingleton owes/owed the taxpayer no duty of care whatsoever. Additionally, the State did not HAVE to bail it out. So, you would go down in flames is the short answer.
But it was reasonably forseeable that the state would have to pick up the pieces and the State deposit insurance scheme was in place during his whole tenure. So Fingers knew there was a risk that the State would have to rescue the society in some form should his policies not work.

And arguably that State did have to bail out the society for systemic reasons.
 

cry freedom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2,400
But it was reasonably forseeable that the state would have to pick up the pieces and the State deposit insurance scheme was in place during his whole tenure. So Fingers knew there was a risk that the State would have to rescue the society in some form should his policies not work.

And arguably that State did have to bail out the society for systemic reasons.
Could a citizens group, if properly funded,sue Michael Fingleton on behalf of the state?
Could we go after Rodi Molloy's car and pension.
Not for all the difference the money would make to the public finances but to show the establishment that cozy deals were no longer survivable.
I mean if the government will not do the job, someone has to force them out into the open.
Better a disciplined group of middle class citizens than a howling mob.
Which is what we could be facing if the present modus operandi continues.
 

ManUnited

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
5,221
The separation of powers is only a sort of Chinese wall.
On several occasions the courts have forced the state to take courses of action they found inconvenient.
l.
The separation of powers is much more than 'only a sort of chinese wall'.It is taken very seriously by the court, as it should be. The courts have, as you say, found against the state.But have refused to in cases involving 'distributive justice' ect.You should have a read of Sinnott v Minister for Education, court sets out clearly when it will intervene and when it wont.

Adrian Hardiman J comments:
“In each of these cases the Supreme Court was offered an opportunity dramatically to extend its own powers . . . in order to make mandatory orders involving considerable public expenditure, in response to an assertion of an alleged socio-economic right . . . But the Supreme Court declined to do so and instead asserted, perhaps more elaborately than ever before, a view of the separation of powers as a strongly demarcated one broadly in the lines the Executive had contended for.”


The rest of your post seems to be looking for some form of direct democracy.Whatever the pros and cons of that may be, looking to the courts is a non runner.
 

culmore

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 14, 2010
Messages
3,184
Rely on the courts, but who put the judges there, dont think they will let their old buddies down, you will have to look elsewhere for a solution
 

cry freedom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2,400
The separation of powers is much more than 'only a sort of chinese wall'.It is taken very seriously by the court, as it should be. The courts have, as you say, found against the state.But have refused to in cases involving 'distributive justice' ect.You should have a read of Sinnott v Minister for Education, court sets out clearly when it will intervene and when it wont.

Adrian Hardiman J comments:
“In each of these cases the Supreme Court was offered an opportunity dramatically to extend its own powers . . . in order to make mandatory orders involving considerable public expenditure, in response to an assertion of an alleged socio-economic right . . . But the Supreme Court declined to do so and instead asserted, perhaps more elaborately than ever before, a view of the separation of powers as a strongly demarcated one broadly in the lines the Executive had contended for.”


The rest of your post seems to be looking for some form of direct democracy.Whatever the pros and cons of that may be, looking to the courts is a non runner.
Thank you for your post. It is obvious that you know a lot more about both the workings and philosophy of the law than I do.
Perhaps however that is your weakness and my strength,
You have an over developed respect for the precedent of the law while I am not in awe of it at all.
Ever since the time of the Magna Carta the law has been encroaching on the sovereignly of nations to defend the common fellow.
Since the 17th century this process has gathered pace.
As late as 50 or 60 years ago it would have been well nigh impossible for a common man to bring a case against the state.
The law, sometimes reluctantly, sometime willingly has seen fit to interfere
when it perceives an abuse of the powers of the state taking place.
My suggestion is that we merely move that process along.
In some third world countries the law is often the only voice left to the oppressed.
As our country approaches "failed state" standing under the auspices of this government the law may be the only way of getting back on track.
 

obfp2010

Member
Joined
Sep 27, 2010
Messages
42
Too little and too long. A group of well intentioned civil minded citizens in the dail for 5 years with a tranche of constitutional referendums in the second year could achieve far more including the reduction of TDs to below 100, reduced number of ministers, no junior ministers, no state pensions to anyone in receipt of any other form of income, lowering TDs pay. ending of state cars for all sorts of former office holders. ending of state cars for ministers, driver and car available on request when justified. rationalizing services in all state departments to provide best practice for end users, patients, students etc. and on and on
 

cry freedom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2,400
Too little and too long. A group of well intentioned civil minded citizens in the dail for 5 years with a tranche of constitutional referendums in the second year could achieve far more including the reduction of TDs to below 100, reduced number of ministers, no junior ministers, no state pensions to anyone in receipt of any other form of income, lowering TDs pay. ending of state cars for all sorts of former office holders. ending of state cars for ministers, driver and car available on request when justified. rationalizing services in all state departments to provide best practice for end users, patients, students etc. and on and on
Yeah?
How is that going to be achieved under the present system?
Let us say that there existed in this country a group of 100 Tifosi who would go into the Dail and change things.
How are you going to get them in there?
Are you going to wait while they enter local government, build up a political profile for themselves and, after running in two or three general elections,
finally make it into the chamber.
See you in about 2025.
By then IMF officials will have been in here so often they will probably be speaking fluently as Gaeilge.
Please, no more, "If my aunt had balls.......", proposals.
The present system cannot ,simply cannot, be allowed to go on.
 

cry freedom

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2009
Messages
2,400
If the courts can do it for Shinner Doherty, why not for my proposed little band?
 
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