Supervision of the activities of authorities
The Chancellor of Justice supervises that courts of law, other authorities and public officials, and other employees or bodies assigned to perform public duties comply with the law and fulfil their assigned obligations.
The Chancellor of Justice is entitled to receive any necessary information from authorities and other public bodies for the purpose of ensuring the legality of their actions. This right to access information also extends to confidential information.
The main means of supervision include processing complaints, legality oversight visits and the Chancellor’s initiatives.
The Chancellor of Justice will investigate a complaint if, based on it, there is reason to suspect that an authority or other person or body performing a public duty has acted unlawfully. A complaint may also be investigated if the Chancellor of Justice finds it necessary for some other reason. The Chancellor of Justice may transfer the handling of a complaint to a competent authority, if there are grounds for such an action based on the nature of the matter. In such cases, the complainant will be notified about the transfer.
Legality oversight visits and inspections
The Chancellor of Justice has the right to carry out inspections at the premises of the authorities, institutions and other operating units under his supervisory authority.
The legality oversight visits are precautionary measures. They can be used to:
- obtain information about the legality of the procedures and conduct of authorities
- examine the uniformity and integrity of the practices in the application of legislation
- promote interaction and information exchange with subjects of the oversight measures
- receive information about any shortcomings and problems in legislation
- obtain information about possible structural problems in official activities.
The Chancellor of Justice may take up a matter on his own initiative. The initiatives are particularly focused on structural problems that may, for example, prevent or hinder access to legal services or the realisation of rights. Structural problems include shortcomings in regulation, instructions, oversight, the training or resourcing of public officials or the use of public resources as well as management practices and operating methods of public authorities, and information systems.
Which consequences may the supervision measures have?
As a consequence of the supervision measures, the Chancellor of Justice may:
- order the conduct of a pre-trial investigation
- in case of a serious unlawful conduct, prosecute the parties concerned
- issue a reprimand to the official concerned
- present views on the requirements of law or good governance or aspects that promote the realisation of basic and human rights
- provide the party concerned with information on procedures in accordance with the law and good governance
- recommend that the party concerned compensate for the damage caused or, in exceptional cases, also apply for the dismissal of a final decision or judgment
- make a proposal for changing inadequate or contradictory regulation.