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September 04, 2013

 Summer student - Roy Balestrino   
I worked in the Office of the Ombudsman for a period of six weeks as part of the Gibraltar Government Summer Students 2013 programme. Having previously worked in a number of local law firms I thought that the opportunity of working with the Ombudsman would provide me with a different perception of the law. As a law student I felt that this experience would be extremely beneficial to my development as it would serve to broaden my understanding of public law.
Prior to the commencement of my placement I had a basic understanding of the role of the Ombudsman and the type of work that was carried out. I was aware that the Ombudsman functions as an impartial intermediary between Government departments and public entities and the individuals who rely on their services. However, I did not anticipate the amount of contact that the Ombudsman had with members of the public and the number of investigations that the Ombudsman undertook.
Through my time spent in the Office of the Ombudsman I witnessed the good work that they do for members of the public who have suffered a detriment as a result of maladministration on the part of a Government Department or public entity. The Ombudsman and his team are very welcoming and receptive to any individual who comes to them with a complaint. Whether this results in a full investigation into the complaint or simply some advice as to what the individual could do to resolve their problem, the Ombudsman and his team always seek the best possible solution for the individual, while of course remaining impartial. 
I enjoyed my time in the Office of the Ombudsman as I was given plenty of tasks to complete. I carried out research for a number of projects and cases that the Ombudsman was undertaking. Aside from the research I also wrote a number of case reports and case summaries which gave me an insight into the type of cases that the Ombudsman deals with on a daily basis.
My overall experience was definitely a positive one. Following the completion of my placement, I appreciate the important role that the Ombudsman plays in the administrative justice system. The Ombudsman is the last resort for people who have exhausted all other avenues in attempting to resolve their problems. Although the Ombudsman may not be a well known organisation to certain sectors of the community, its value to the administration of public law should not be underestimated. I feel that through the tasks I have been assigned and completed, I have in some way contributed to the invaluable work carried out by the Ombudsman.   
Roy Balestrino