If you follow the work of Repubblika or this blog, you will have heard us complain that every time we start a process in court, we are forced to prove we have an interest in the case we are pursuing.
Interest, in a legal sense, is relevant when you’re going to court because of an issue you might have with someone else. If the owner of House A across your street does negligent work on their property damaging the property of the owner of House B next to him and across from you, it’s up to the owner of House B to take the matter to court. You can’t just go “on principle” to argue that A is treating B unfairly. What’s it to you? Nothing. Out you go.
But when Repubblika complains in court the police let Ali Sadr off the hook, we’re not doing it because we’re busybodies. What’s it to us? Let’s not indulge in highfalutin arguments about public interest and civil society court activism. Let’s just say that if the law gives us the right to complain (and it does) well then no one can take that right away from us by saying we have nothing to do with the case.
I’m writing this not to convince you with my explanation. Rather please read this article in today’s Times of Malta by Kevin Aquilina, Austin Bencini, Giovanni Bonello and Tonio Borg who, sort of, know a thing or two about these things.
Note especially their suggestion why Repubblika might have recently lost the case complaining it was denied fair hearing when Nadine Lia refused to recuse herself from hearing Repubblika’s complaint against the police for not acting on Ali Sadr and others.
“Is this reluctance to grant an NGO access to the right to a fair hearing a fear of deciding on the merits a politically loaded case?” the lawyers ask. “One augurs that this is not the case.” Indeed.