(redirected from the Ombudsman)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial.


(äm`bədzmən) [Swed.,=agent or representative], public official appointed to deal with individual complaints against government acts. The office originated in Sweden in 1809 when the Swedish legislature created a riksdagens justitieombudsman, or parliamentary agent of justice, and in the 20th cent. it has been adopted by a number of countries. As a government agent serving as an intermediary between citizens and the government bureaucracy, the ombudsman is usually independent, impartial, universally accessible, and empowered only to recommend. In the United States the term ombudsman has been used more widely to describe any machinery adopted by private organizations (e.g., large business corporations and universities) as well as by government to investigate complaints of administrative abuses. In 1969, Hawaii became the first of many American states to appoint an ombudsman.


See studies by G. Sawyer (2d ed. 1968), F. Stacey (1978), and D. C. Rowat (2d ed. 1986).



in bourgeois states, an official empowered by the constitution or a special law to oversee the workings of government institutions, ministries, and departments. The position of ombudsman was first provided for in the Swedish Constitution of 1809.

In most countries the ombudsman acts nominally on behalf of the parliament, on the initiative of individuals or legal entities that have approached him. The official title of the position of such a government supervisor varies: for example, in France, intermédiaire, and in Great Britain, New Zealand, and India, “parliamentary commissioner” (plenipotentiary). In some countries there are several ombudsmen, each of whom is assigned a certain sphere of administration (in Sweden, for example, there are civil, military, and consumer ombudsmen). Ombudsmen are elected by parliament or appointed by the head of state. In monitoring the actions of officials in the government apparatus, the ombudsman does not have the right to revoke their decisions, but he can make recommendations. In most countries the ombudsmen’s control is very limited; it does not cover the activities of the government, ministers, foreign-policy departments, the police, or municipal agencies.


1. a commissioner who acts as independent referee between individual citizens and their government or its administration
2. (in Britain) an official, without power of sanction or mechanism of appeal, who investigates complaints of maladministration by members of the public against national or local government or its servants
References in periodicals archive ?
Mr Kwerepe pointed that the Office of the Ombudsman addressed 40 Kgotla meetings in targeted villages and settlements during the current financial year to carry out public education and complaint intakes.
The nature of appealable decisions of the Ombudsman was, in fact, settled in Ombudsman v.
Malacanang on Thursday slammed the Ombudsman for not disclosing the fact that they had closed the investigation on the President's alleged bank accounts.
He informed the Governor that the more offices of the Ombudsman are being established in various districts of the Sindh province to provide speedy and low-cost justice to the people in their respective areas.
Consumer Council for Water: EFFECTIVELY the ombudsman for water and sewerage customers in England and Wales.
The meeting was attended by Jean-Paul Ghoneim, Senior Advisor at the French Embassy in the Kingdom, and Ahmed Khalil Nass, and Rahma Isa Shweiter from the Ombudsman.
The spread of the ombudsman concept during the 1960s, thanks in part to the influence of Donald Rowat, was notably driven by Canada which, at the time, qualified as one of the world's most advanced democracies (Rowat 2009).
In 2009/10 the ombudsman received 110 complaints about Kirklees.
The Ombudsman will be at the Eisteddfod in Blaenau Gwent this week (Saturday, July 31 to Saturday, August 7, 2010 - stand number 540).
AaImplementing the Ombudsman Law of 2005 would put Lebanon on the level of developed countries, said Justice Minister Ibrahim Najjar.
The Ombudsman has no power to investigate matters of defense or external affairs, or cases being heard by the courts.