Written by: Halka Jaklová
Photo by: René Jakl
If you feel that you’re the victim of a state authority, you can turn to the public defender of rights – or ombudsman – with a complaint (motion). But it’s important to know the proper procedure.
The activities of the ombudsman are governed by Law No. 349/1999 Coll., on the public protector of rights, directed towards the protection of individuals and legal entities against actions by offices and other institutions of state administration. This can also involve cases of inaction by such bodies. A motion can relate primarily to ministries and other administrative offices, as well as municipalities and regions in the performance of state administration, the police, army, penal services, public health insurers, or prisons. As concerns courts, it is possible to review in particular delays in procedures, inaction, and improper behavior by judges.
The ombudsman has the right to conduct independent investigations into individual matters, and if he discovers that errors exist, to demand that the authority or institution remedy the matter. But he cannot change or cancel their decisions, and is not a vehicle for appeal. His competence does not extend to court decisions of disputes, disputes concerning private law among citizens, decisions and activities of the parliament, the president of the republic, the government, the supreme inspectorate, Czech Republic intelligence services, bodies responsible for penal proceedings, and prosecutors. A motion to the ombudsman can be submitted in writing by mail, electronic mail, or orally in person into a report right in the ombudsman’s office in Brno. For the ombudsman to handle a complaint you must observe the several following requisites. Primarily the complaint must be submitted by the party that feels somehow damaged or his representative with power of attorney. Additionally, the name, surname, and address of the plaintiff must be stated, the name of the office(s) towards which the motion is directed, a description of the essential circumstances of the matter, including information as to whether and with what result the matter was submitted to another body, a document to the effect that the office the motion relates to was unsuccessfully challenged for redress, and if the motion relates to an issued decision, a copy of it. There is no remedy against results of the ombudsman’s actions, e.g., postponement of a matter, conclusions of investigations, proposed measures for rectification, or recommendations.