Can we sue the Government?

Can we sue our government? I don’t know how feasible this is. There is no research in this post. This is because, not only am I no expert – not on anything actually (though I think I have more inkling than I’m allowing in this post) – but I am sensible enough to know that I could research until the cows come home and it will still come down to the will and authoritative arguments of those who are actually qualified – and maybe a jury. This is just a layperson putting an idea out and into the ether.

Unless one lives on another planet, is one of the deliberately deaf and blind Alright-Jacks or the I’ll-only-pay-for-mine Brigade, one can’t fail to register the growing inequality of treatment, wealth/prosperity and opportunity perpetuated by this Government. For those with eyes to see, the march towards a fascistic system is clearly in view. With mass subjugation by serfdom, corporate control and media-politico doublethink, many woken people have been rightly growing increasingly concerned for some time. And angry. So very angry. And so justifiably so.

We have no mechanism as a citizenry, to hold our governments officially to account, aside from elections. They fixed parliamentary terms with no counter-balance to get rid of an administration before a General Election and tell us they think an election every five years is sufficient, as though we should think ourselves lucky to get that. They don’t even think we need a proper power of recall when it comes to individual MPs! It’s just not good enough, is it?

Can’t We, the People, bring a class action against an entire government? Here, through our own British Justice system. Obviously I have this government in my mind, specifically but, absent the parliamentary will to write such a vehicle into Law as would rebalance our power, I’d also like us to try and set a precedent. Let’s face it: this Coalition is not the first and, unfortunately, probably won’t be the last to abuse us through abuse of office. Can’t we sue them for:

Breach of contract/merchantable quality
Reckless endangerment
Negligence/Malpractice
Extortion/Slavery
Fraud/Insider trading/Accepting bribes
Fiduciary incompetence
Oppression of legal, human rights

Obviously we can’t sue them just because we don’t like government policy, albeit that we don’t like government policy. It has to be grounded in more than mere opposition to political colour or the failed aspirations of a manifesto, particularly when the respondents are a Coalition. As I said, I’m no lawyer or constitutional expert but surely there must be at least one valid charge on that list, (whether or not they are all correct legal terms) or a charge I haven’t thought of, that entitles us to seek criminal or civil justice within our own legal system. Scare the pants off ’em I say! The whole damned lot of them! Surely there is a range of ‘expert witnesses’ on whom we could call and there must be organisations, lawyers, economists, anthropologists and other relevant academics who could help us build a case? Perhaps We, the People, need our own version of the Investor State Dispute Settlement… 😉

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22 thoughts on “Can we sue the Government?

  1. I don’t know the actual answer to your question, but my immediate reaction is ‘if we could sue before, you can be sure Tories have done everything in their power to shut down that ‘loophole’.

    I think we the people need our own water canon to use on MPs. One that shoots fire

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      • Don’t think the wish to close the loophole would be any less fervent for Labour. Look at the desperate clinging to power of Gordon Brown.

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      • I agree with Anthropith – no political party would willingly create the space for such actions as I’m musing on. But I also think it’s irrelevant – we don’t need their permission.

        But the fire-breathing cannon – that I heard! 😉

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  2. There are a couple of constitutional reasons why we would be unsuccessful.
    A secondary problem is that without a written constitution it’s unclear from historical documents and case law whether we elect delegates to Parliament (as they most often are) or representatives (as we would like them to be).
    But first and foremost is that we don’t elect governments or Prime Ministers. While most people think they did, the truth is that we elect a constituency MP. The MP, while often affiliated with a party, will usually have campaigned at least in part on a local issue. So what we end up with is not a few hundred party MPs elected on a common manifesto, but lots of individuals. They then elect a Prime Minister, who gains the authority from Parliament to form a government.

    So who would you sue? The PM and his government have no direct mandate and are constitutionally responsible to Parliament, not to the electorate. MPs couldn’t be sued as a group, because they all would be able to claim that they didn’t stand on a common platform (My Tory MP for instance is against HS2).

    What we really need is to fully reform Parliament and our election processes to enable a proper chain of accountability from top to bottom. With us at the top and our representatives at the bottom.

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    • Though I take on board the point about representatives, one could possibly make an argument along the corporations-are-people flavour. Or, we could sue Parliament – that works for me! 😉

      The ‘Govt’ has been sued, both by individuals and groups, both national and foreign. Sometimes a department, sometimes the whole administration. I didn’t bother to put links to this effect because, as I alluded early in the post, much of Law is built on making a good case and achieving precedent by persuasion. If a class action was filed with private funds, they can’t stop us at least trying. There is obviously no guarantee of success and I may just be talking fanciful nonsense, however, just setting it in motion would create a powerful narrative which may effect changes, in and of itself. What it would need is clever lawyers, civic will and a curious media.

      And, yes! Of course we need reforms! That’s the point! 🙂

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      • Hi Juli, I find this blog very interesting ! I agree no one can stop (us) the disenfranchised disabled people of England & Wales attempting to build a case and taking the UK Government to court via the European courts.

        (a) I agree with your point on the need for clever lawyers as this can possibly be achieved and is not impossible or demanding on my part.

        (b) Civic Will does exist in many parts of the country but was unfortunately cut down at the first hurdle by the Labour Party. I am referring to a very good report by The Sparticus Group which originated via DPAC . I realise how disappointed these 3 ladies were , but I did say to a friend ” this champion runner shall fall at the first hurdle”

        (c) Media curiosity depends on the basic objectivity of the planned proposal. I shall not go any further on this subject but state it is vital .

        Finally I personally would enjoy becoming a team member on such a project & ask you to accept my nomination to become a member to the new consortium. Then I can legally ask you to accept my nomination for you to be stand & be a nomination to become the elected Chair person .
        Secondly we shall need to register a name for our new business. We could ask other registered disabled people for their suggestions & hopefully choose together an appropriate name.
        Thirdly we need to seek experienced persons willing to be nominated as Treasurer ,Secretary & Vice Chair & possibly an Information Officer.
        Fourthly we need formal documents prepared such as Article of Association, Memorandum etc. when we are quorate.

        I realise this may all come as bit of a shock to you , but I feel confident you can handle such a venture Little Acorn. I am not afraid to answer any questions that you may have or supply any of my personal details to you upon request.

        I look forward to hearing your considered reply.

        Warmest Regards
        Victor Martin John Hunt
        19 Ffordd Tan’r Allt, Abergele , Conwy .LL22 7DQ

        Tel 01745 827181 Email: vicmart009@hotmail.co.uk

        ** Oh, Victor, I so appreciate your enthusiasm but I am most concerned that you have put so much personal information on a site that cannot guarantee the integrity of every reader. I would advise you to remove most of it.

        As to the content of your response – wow! You are way ahead of me but it is good to know you have a measure of understanding in forming groups, particularly when financial interests are involved. If my flimsy idea is ever taken that seriously by those who would lead such a class suit, I will definitely give you a shout. 🙂

        But, please, please, consider the risk you are taking with your details. I’m actually tempted to remove them on your behalf, such is my concern.

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  3. Hi! Juli what a very interesting idea,I have said all along that it isn’t fair that in the run up to a general election all parties make promises in order to win votes then once in power they renege on those promises and there is nothing we can do about it until the next election. If a prospective employee in their interview blatantly lied to obtain a position within a company and was subsequently found out in that lie or lies they would be sacked why then when a prime minister on behalf of his party lies to his prospective employers us, is he and by default his party allowed to go unpunished? it just isn’t right, we the people should be able to vote them out of power if they do not fulfill their promises a prime example is Cameron famously saying the NHS is safe in our hands and we all know that was a big fat lie. The same goes if they are found not to be telling the truth another prime example IDS or found to be stealing by fraudulently claiming expenses.. We should have some recourse it just isn’t fair.

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    • Hi, Hilary. Thank you for your comment. Absolutely it is not fair! Though promises made before elections and party manifestos would probably be regarded as failed aspiration rather than not telling the truth and not stand up sufficiently in Law, the two specific subjects you cite, NHS & IDS, are, to me, perfect examples of suitable evidence by which to build a case and you remind me that ‘intent to deceive’ should have been added to the charges on the list I ventured. As should ‘blackmail’ if one thinks of the recent threatening tone used to try and inhibit charities such as Trussell and Oxfam.. 🙂

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      • If only we could prove ‘intent to deceive’!
        Didn’t someone try to sue Gordon Brown for precisely this? In a South Coast court, I think. Because the prevailing conditions change from month to month and year to year throughout a parliament the court agreed with Gordon Brown’s barrister that (and I’m pretty sure I’m remembering the quote) “Manifesto promises are not subject to legitimate expectation”. In other words, you can’t reasonably expect a party to follow through on its manifesto once elected.
        Horrible piece of case law.

        http://order-order.com/2008/02/07/gordon-tells-court-manifesto-pledges/

        Oh, Anthropith! Every legal case wishes to prove something! “If only” is a stalwart of the loser! The outcome is not guaranteed just by the trying, is it? I’m familiar with the Brown thing. I already said that past cases are no guarantee of future. You seem not to have read my post properly nor any of my responses, either or you would know that I’ve already made the same points about aspirations and manifestos. You seem to have completely missed the spirit of the post and the idea that just building a case might be all that is necessary – another thing I already explained to you. This is not all about winning or even actually going to court! Unless you are a highly qualified lawyer, working for Liberty or that ilk and hoping to take such a case on for a low fee, which I imagine you are not..

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    • Thanks, Sue! I’ve always rather liked the idea, albeit that the post has my usual facetious stamp. I don’t expect though, that anything will actually happen but just putting it out to the ether has been a small catharsis! 😉

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      • As always, regulation and contract law are for the little people. Look at health and safety – I can’t buy more than 32 paracetamol but there is none for climate warming or global finance. GCSE students taking exams at home are surrounded by rules to stop them cheating but George Bush gets elected in spite of clear electoral fraud. It’s another hidden form of apartheid.

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  4. Hi Juli, I am an old unafraid walrus with no teeth left so I now rely on other techniques for my own personal protection . However your article was appreciated & hopefully much more widely read by others now. For myself, you sparked up my old flame of “nothing ventured then nothing gained “. I do appreciate your concern for my safety on the internet though . It’s your own personal decision now on the next step move forward on such an endeavour. A simple Ye or Na will do. Don’t be afraid I am patient person !
    p.s I am also on twitter as Methusalada73

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  5. Reblogged this on Britain Isn't Eating and commented:
    An interesting thought from juxtaposed…God, imagine if we could sue the govn for all their ineptitude, in fact suing just IDS & McVey there wouldn’t be any Court time left for day to day criminals!!

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  6. Pingback: Can we sue the Government? | Welfare, Disabilit...

  7. Pingback: Can we sue the Government? | Think Left

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