In his book, Taking Rights Seriously, Professor Ronald Dworkin has argued that the institution of rights against the state is justified “because it represents the majority's promise to the minorities that their dignity and equality will be respected.” But he also stressed the difficulty of ensuring that these rights are respected:
The institution of rights against the Government is not a gift of God, or an ancient ritual, or a national sport. It is a complex and troublesome practice that makes the Government's job of securing the general benefit more difficult and more expensive, and it would be a frivolous and wrongful practice unless it served some point.
Now Dworkin's book is concerned with the problems presented in a democratic system of law and government by a serious commitment to fundamental political rights, such as freedom of speech and the disputed right of civil disobedience; and Dworkin does not directly consider the interest which the individual may have in the maintenance of good government in matters that affect him. One object of this article is to consider whether it is worthwhile seeking to relate the debate about citizen's rights to an assessment of the Ombudsman system. Another aim, since no-one would claim that the Ombudsman should be the sole protector of citizen's rights, is to examine the relationship between the Ombudsman and other agencies for the protection of the citizen in his dealings with the administration. The material to be discussed is drawn from the experience in the U.K. of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, the Parliamentary Ombudsman: but aspects of the discussion may be relevant to the experience of ombudsmen in other countries.