Look at this post by Norman Vella. It explains how for 6 years he’s been in court waiting for the government that he has sued to produce one witness or one shred of evidence why in their view he was lawfully dismissed.
Six years, and today he got told the case won’t continue before October.
He speaks about changes in the composition of the tribunal by the intervention of the same government he is asking the tribunal to judge. Independence of the judiciary, I hear you say?
Norman Vella is an articulate, experienced communicator who commands attention not least because of his time on TV and in politics which he was of course because he’s an articulate, experienced communicator.
But his story is representative of many people out there who go to court to pursue their rights and find themselves bouncing against the walls of a padded cell that pushes them back.
You keep seeing Ministers quoting “the rule of law” whenever they are going to use the law to get their own way with something. They cite the principle usually to justify doing nothing because apparently there’s a law somewhere that says that the law is to be used on everyone except them.
You could say that when dealing with anyone that is not them, they use what Malcolm Tucker would describe as the carrot and stick approach. If you don’t get the reference, Malcolm Tucker too had to explain it to his interlocutor. “You take a carrot, you stick it up his fucking arse, followed by the stick, followed by an even bigger, rougher carrot.”
The collapse in the rule of law comes in the resigned knowledge which now just about everyone shares that, as Norman Vella puts it, ‘you only step into Court if you know you’re guilty or wrong’.
Otherwise you use your might in the street because, hey, might is right.
It would feel in all this utterly pointless to pursue in the courts themselves the argument that faced by the government on the other side, citizens can no longer hope for justice here. What hope is that for that claim?
There’s only one answer to that question and it’s not as encouraging as I would have hoped it to be: there’s greater certainty in the answer if the question is no longer asked.