The Chancellor of Justice as an Ombudsman

​The next main task of the Chancellor of Justice is to examine as an ombudsman (the law’s middleman, confidant; the term comes from Swedish) whether establishments and officials that perform public assignments are following the constitutional rights and freedoms of individuals and the right to good administration. As an ombudsman, the Chancellor of Justice examines the entitlements of such establishments as ministries, boards, inspectorates and their local offices, as well as local governments. The Chancellor of Justice also examines public legal personalities, as well as physical personalities and legal personalities governed by private law that perform public tasks. Anyone who claims that his or her rights have been violated, or that he or she has been treated unlawfully or against the right to good administration, can submit an application to the Chancellor of Justice (according to the responsibility of the Chancellor of Justice as an ombudsman).

​The Chancellor of Justice starts the process on cases when the applicant, either personally or through a representative, charges that an establishment has violated his or her basic rights. Anyone can submit such an application, but the violation of the right has to be connected with the person submitting the application. The Chancellor of Justice will examine such an application to see whether there has been a violation of the individual’s rights.

​The Chancellor of Justice can begin examining the activities of public establishments on his/her own initiative, when evidence suggests that there may be a violation of constitutional rights or freedoms. One of the sources of such information is the press. It has become common practice that the Chancellor of Justice does not ignore information that journalists dig up about possible violations of individuals’ rights. Accusations related to power structures and establishments of law enforcement – the police, the public prosecutor’s department, prisons, customs, border guards, or citizenship and migration establishments – come under special examination, to prevent violations of important basic rights, such as an individual’s right to freedom. The Chancellor of Justice pays great attention to the concerns of individuals who can’t sufficiently protect their rights or have limited rights. This includes children, individuals living in nursing homes and state hospitals, inmates and servicemen. That’s why the Chancellor of Justice and his advisers visit, following a special procedure, foundling hospitals, nursing homes, state hospitals and prisons. The goal of such examining visits is to become familiar with the situation of providing basic rights and freedoms at the location, to talk with the individuals residing in these establishments, and to begin a review when needed. The intervention of the Chancellor of Justice has stopped law violations and exercised control over culpable officials.

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