Open justice empowers citizens: A relationship to cherish, protect

IN a world where, for the majority of people, the majesty of the law is at least as remote as the majesty of the Bourbons anything that might resurrect the foundation idea that our courts are a place where citizens can seek redress, no matter how powerful their opponents, must be welcomed.

The incredible, life-breaking, family-beggaring cost of taking an action means courts are off limits to all but the wealthiest individuals, the most powerful corporations, governments, or litigants funded by the public purse. For anyone else, the idea of risking everything on the prospect of a favourable judgment cannot be contemplated. In the real world, the idea of an individual earning even five or six times the average wage taking on, say, a bank is as daft as the idea that a descendant of the Bourbon Dauphins might replace Emmanuel Macron as leader of France before Christmas.

One of the ideas used to try to make our courts more real, more part of the world the majority of us live in, is the idea of “open justice” — the subject of a conference in Dublin this evening. This school of thought recognises that unless society understands and knows what is going on in its courts the idea of blind justice freely available to all is further diminished. It also recognises the role of the media as an impartial observer on behalf of all citizens. At a moment when all around the world, today’s would-be Bourbons are trying to break that nobel relationship it is more important than ever to protect it.


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