The institution of ombudsman in the United Kingdom: features and tendencies of its development

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Author: Vadim Gabrielov

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2022-2-147-171

Keywords: ombudsman; human rights commissioners; tendencies of the development of the institution of ombudsman; the United Kingdom; Great Britain


This scientific article explores the features and tendencies of the development of the institution of ombudsman in the United Kingdom. The relevance of the issues this article deals with lies in the process of development of this institution in many countries, its transformation and evolution. Assessment of its effectiveness and its possible development requires studying the practices of the countries in which this institution has undergone considerable development but still continues to evolve. In this regard, the experience of the United Kingdom appears to be very valuable, as the institution of ombudsman in this country is an established and rapidly developing human rights protection mechanism. However, in Russian constitutional and legal science, a comprehensive analysis of the institution of ombudsman in the United Kingdom has not yet been conducted. One of the aims of this article is to fill this gap. This article focuses on the following types of ombudsman: Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration, Health Service Commissioner, Legal Ombudsman, Financial Ombudsman, Pensions Ombudsman, Housing Ombudsman and Furniture Ombudsman. The author analyses the Acts of Parliament, secondary legislation and acts of self-regulation which regulate the legal status and activity of these ombudsmen. Furthermore, the author analyses annual reports and accounts of the ombudsmen which allow conclusions to be drawn about the effectiveness of their activity. The author draws the conclusion, after studying the British model of the institution of ombudsman, that there is a trend in the UK to separate the institution of ombudsman from the UK Parliament. The UK Parliament has not resisted this tendency and has delegated its authority to other governmental bodies, agencies, and officials to regulate the status of the ombudsmen, leading to the tendency of implementing legal regulation of their activities through various levels of legislation. Besides, the institution of ombudsman in the UK is a popular and highly effective way of dispute resolution that allows the parties to reach agreement and avoid litigation. Ombudsmen often act as independent mediators and do not impose binding decisions on the parties unless the parties are unable to reach an agreement on the subject matter of the proceedings.

About the author: Vadim Gabrielov – Graduate student, Higher School of Law and Administration of the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.

Citation: Gabrielov V. (2022) Institut ombudsmena v Soedinyonnom Korolevstve: osobennosti i tendentsii razvitiya [The institution of ombudsman in the United Kingdom: features and tendencies of its development]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 147–171. (In Russian).


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