How to complain

26-01-2006 , by Max Grunberg

Complaining to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) – Questions and answers

Who can complain?

  • Anyone can complain to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO), you do not need to be a Swedish citizen or even live in Sweden
  • You do not have to reach a certain age before you can complain
  • Your complaint does not have to be about something that affects you personally

Who can I complain about?

  • Government agencies (including courts of law and administrative courts) Local government agencies Officials employed by the state or by local government
  • Others who are entrusted to exercise public authority (exercising public authority involves the use of official powers to decide about a benefit, a right, an obligation, disciplinary punishment or some other comparable situation)

Who can I not complain about? – Here are some examples

  • The government or an individual minister Members of the Riksdag Members of local councils or county councils Parliamentary Ombudsmen The Chancellor of Justice
  • State-owned companies and foundations
  • Local government owned companies and foundations (unless the complaint concerns the treatment of a request for a document in the public domain from the company or foundation)
  • Newspapers, radio and television companies Banks, insurance companies Lawyers and doctors in private practice

Is there any time limit?

•A complaint should not in principle concern circumstances that date more than two years prior to the complaint (this is known as « the two-year rule »)

What can I complain about?

  • The task of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) is to monitor the compliance of authorities and public officials (and others who are entrusted to exercise public authority) with the laws and statutes and to ensure that they discharge their obligations in other respects, not least with regard to their respect for fundamental liberties and rights, including human rights. This means that anyone can complain to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) if they feel that they themselves or anyone else has received improper treatment when an authority and/or a public official has dealt with an issue. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen

(JO) mainly monitors the activities of courts and public authorities. The Institution does not review the content of judgments and decisions. Anyone seeking to change a judgment or decision must submit an appeal – usually to either an Administrative Court or an Appeal Court – rather than complain to the Ombudsman.

How do I complain?

  • Complaints have to be in writing
  • They can be submitted by post
  • They can be submitted by fax
  • They can be submitted by e-mail
  • Complaints can take the form of a letter or can be submitted using the Complaint form, see How to complain, subheading Complaint form (pdf)

What information should a complaint contain?

  • Who the complaint is about, or in other words the authority and/or the public official who has acted incorrectly
  • A short description of the case or of what happened
  • The behaviour that is considered to be incorrect
  • Any registration or file number the authority may have assigned to the case
  • The reasons why you consider the authority and/or the public official acted improperly
  • The name and address of the person complaining Attach copies if possible of any documents that help to show that the authority
  • and/or the public official acted improperly
  • A written complaint should be signed

Important things to bear in mind!

  • A complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) and the documents sent with it are in the public domain as soon as they are delivered. This means that anyone has the right to look at them unless they can be classified as confidential according to the Secrecy Act (details about the health of the complainant may, for instance, be classified as confidential)
  • If an Ombudsman begins an inquiry into a complaint, the official concerned will be told who has made the complaint
  • Anonymous complaints are not investigated by the Ombudsmen
  • An Ombudsman is not able to alter a judgment or a decision. If you are dissatisfied with a judgment or a decision you can, as a rule, appeal to a higher instance within the time stipulated in the judgment or decision

How long does it take to get an adjudication from the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO)?

  • Everyone who complains to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) receives some form of decision
  • It takes no longer than a few weeks to respond to some letters/complaints because no inquiry is required
  • In other cases it may take some time for an Ombudsman to respond – how long depends on the amount of work involved in investigating the case

Last modified: 2006-01-26

The Parliamentary Ombudsmen – JO · Postal Address: Box 16327, SE-103 26 Stockholm, Sweden · Visiting Address: Västra Trädgårdsgatan 4 · Telephone: +46 8 786 40 00 · Text phone: +46 8 786 61 15 ·

Fax: +46 8 21 65 58 · E-mail: justitieombudsmannen@riksdagen.se · Information about cookies


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