The Coalition for Reform considers that presently the means by which citizens can enforce their fundamental rights is difficult and too restricted. This arises from the need to apply to the Supreme Court of Gibraltar and the complication and cost associated with that procedure. The Coalition for Reform will create a new post of Commissioner of Fundamental Rights. The Judicial Services Commission will appoint him/her. He/she must be an appropriately experienced lawyer. The Commissioner of Fundamental Rights will be provided with sufficient finance for her/him to establish an adequate secretariat.
The duty and responsibility of the Commissioner of Fundamental Rights will be to receive and investigate all complaints of breaches of Part 1 of the Gibraltar Constitution Order 2006 (2006 Constitution), which contains the fundamental rights. He/she will publish an opinion of her/his findings. The Commissioner of Fundamental Rights will also have power to investigate and issue an opinion of his/her own motion on any issue of concern on the subject of fundamental rights.
Within 3 months of the publication by the Commissioner of Fundamental Rights of his/her opinion on the subject of any complaint or of its own motion, the Government shall publish its policy statement on the relevant matter. The statement will set out deadlines by which any breach of fundamental rights found to exist by the Commissioner of Fundamental Rights would be rectified. The Government must rectify by passing any necessary legislation or taking any corrective action within a period of 6 months from the publication of its policy statement.
In the event that the Government does not publish a policy statement or rectify any breach within the prescribed time limits, the Commission of Fundamental Rights will be obligated to commence proceedings before the Supreme Court, as permitted by section 16 of the 2006 Constitution, at the full cost and expense of the Government and without risk of an award of costs against it. The Supreme Court will be empowered to condemn the relevant Minister or Ministers personally in costs if it finds that non-compliance with the opinion of the Commissioner of Fundamental Rights has been by reason of his/her wilfulness, recklessness, gross negligence or purposeful breach.