Last Updated: Friday, 19 January 2018, 17:46 GMT

Denmark: Ombudsman Act

Publisher National Legislative Bodies / National Authorities
Publication Date 17 September 1986
Cite as Denmark: Ombudsman Act [Denmark],  17 September 1986, available at: [accessed 21 January 2018]
Comments This is the official translation of the Act No. 642 of 17 September 1986.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Section 1.

(1)After every general election and when a vacancy occurs, the Folketing shall elect an Ombudsman, to oversee on its behalf civil and military central government administration and local government administration. The jurisdiction of the Ombudsman shall not extend to the functions of judges, chief administrative officers of the courts of justice, the head of the Probate Division of the Copenhagen City Court, clerks of the Supreme Court, and assistant judges.

(2)Upon a general election, the Ombudsman shall continue in office until the new Folketing has elected an Ombudsman as provided in subsection (1) above and, if he is not re-elected, until the new Ombudsman has taken office. The term of office of the outgoing Ombudsman shall not, except with the consent of the Folketing, exceed six months from the date of the general election.

(3)In the event of the death of the Ombudsman, the Ombudsman Committee of the Folketing shall determine who shall carry out the functions of the Ombudsman until the Folketing has elected a new Ombudsman.

(4)Should the Ombudsman cease to enjoy the confidence of the Folketing, it may dismiss him.

Section 2.

The Ombudsman, who must not be a member of the Folketing, shall be a law graduate.

Section 3.

The Folketing shall lay down general rules governing the activities of the Ombudsman. Subject to these rules, the Ombudsman shall be independent of the Folketing in the discharge of his functions.

Section 4.

(1)The jurisdiction of the Ombudsman shall extend to ministers, civil servants, and all other persons in government service except as provided in section 1, subsection (1).

(2)Persons in local government service shall likewise fall within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman in so far as regards matters in which there is recourse to a central government body. The activities of local government councils acting as a body shall not fall within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman except as provided in section 6, subsection

(3)In the exercise of his powers the Ombudsman shall take account of the special conditions under which local government functions.

Section 5.

The Ombudsman shall keep himself informed as to whether the persons referred to in section 4 make themselves guilty of errors or neglect in the performance of their duties.

Section 6.

(1)Any person may lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman against any of the persons referred to in section 4. Any person deprived of his personal liberty shall be entitled to address written communications to the Ombudsman in sealed envelopes.

(2)A complainant shall state his name and lodge his complaint within twelve months after the commission of the act complained of.

(3)Complaints against decisions which may be set aside by a superior administrative authority cannot be lodged with the Ombudsman until the superior authority has taken a decision in the matter. In that event the time-limit referred to in subsection (2) of this section shall be reckoned from the date of that authority's decision.

(4)The Ombudsman shall determine whether a complaint offers sufficient grounds for investigation.

(5)The Ombudsman may take up a matter for investigation on his own initiative. In that event the restrictions referred to in section 4, subsection (2) shall not apply where violation of essential legal interests is postulated.

Section 7.

(1)The persons referred to in section 4 shall be under obligation to furnish the Ombudsman with such information and to produce such documents and records as he may demand ex officio.

(2)Demands for information made by the Ombudsman in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section shall be subject to restrictions corresponding to those laid down in section 169 subsections (1) and (3), section 170 subsection (1), the principal rule of section 170 subsection (4), and section 749 of the Administration of Justice Act.

(3)If the Ombudsman wants to take action on a complaint against any of the persons referred to in section 4, the complaint shall, except where absolutely incompatible with the investigation of the matter, be notified to the person complained of at the earliest opportunity. If the person complained of is a civil servant he may always demand that the matter be dealt with under the provisions of section 17, cf section 18, of the Civil Servants (Salaries and Pensions) Act. If he is a local government official he may, if the bylaws of the local government concerned provide for disciplinary action, demand that the matter be dealt with under the provisions of such bylaws.

(4)The Ombudsman may subpoena persons to give evidence in court on any matter of importance to his investigations. Such procedure shall be subject to the rules governing examination of witnesses for purposes of investigation, cf. Part 74 of the Administration of Justice Act. The hearings shall not be held in open court. The person complained of shall be entitled to attend such examinations of witnesses and to bring a counsel. The Ministry of Justice will issue rules as to who may act as counsel. The rules in force at any given time for payment of costs of counsel etc. in cases of disciplinary prosecution of civil servants shall apply by analogy.

Section 8.

The Ombudsman shall observe secrecy in any matter coming to his knowledge in the performance of his duty, provided that secrecy is necessary ipso facto. The obligation of the Ombudsman to observe secrecy shall not lapse on his retirement.

Section 9.

(1)The Ombudsman may direct the Public Prosecutorto institute a preliminary investigation or bring a charge before a court of justice for misconduct in public service or office, subject to the provisions of sections 16 and 60 of the Constitution of 5 June 1953 (The Court of the Realm).

(2)The Ombudsman may direct the appropriate central government administrative authority to institute disciplinary proceedings. Where the bylaws of a local government provide for disciplinary proceedings, he may direct the appropriate local government authority to institute such proceedings.

(3)The Ombudsman may always state his own views of a case to the person complained of.

Section 10.

(1)Should the Ombudsman learn of major errors or derelictions on the part of any of the persons referred to in section 4, he shall report the matter to the Folketing and to the responsible minister. In the case of errors or derelictions on the part of any of the persons referred to in section 4, subsection (2), he shall report the matter also to the local authority concerned.

(2)The Ombudsman shall submit an annual report on his work to the Folketing. The report shall be printed and published.

(3)Where the Ombudsman reports a matter to the Folketing, to a minister, or to a local authority, or mentions a case in his annual report, he shall state what the person concerned pleaded in his defence.

Section 11.

If any deficiencies in existing laws or administrative regulations come to the attention of the Ombudsman, he shall notify the Folketing and the responsible Minister thereof In the case of deficiencies in bylaws of local authorities, he shall also notify the local authority concerned.

Section 12.

(1)The Ombudsman shall receive remuneration at the same rate as judges of the Supreme Court. In addition, he may be granted a personal allowance. He shall be entitled to severance pay and to pension under provisions corresponding to those of sections 3-7 of the Remuneration and Pension of Ministers Act.

(2)The Ombudsman may not hold any office in public or private enterprises, undertakings, or institutions except with the consent of a committee authorized by the Folketing to decide on that question.

Section 13.

(1)Giving six months' notice, the Ombudsman may tender his resignation, effective from the end of a month.

(2)The Ombudsman shall retire at the end of the month in which he attains the age of 70.

Section 14.

(1)If the Ombudsman is discharged without notice, or if following a general election he has to retire because he is not re-elected, he shall retain his salary for three months from the end of the month in which he retires. If he dies before the expiry of that period, any salary outstanding at the time of his death shall be payable to his spouse, or if he leaves no spouse, to any children of his being entitled to children's pension.

(2)For the duration of the period of entitlement to salary, severance pay or pension shall not be paid.

(3)Section 3, subsection (2) of the Remuneration and Pension of Ministers Act shall apply by analogy to salary payable under subsection (1) of this section.

Section 15.

The Ombudsman shall engage and dismiss his own staff. The number, salaries and pensions of his staff shall be fixed in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Folketing. The expenditure incident to the office of Ombudsman shall be charged to the budget of the Folketing.

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