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Administrative Law

Administrative Law (5th edn)

Timothy Endicott
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date: 24 March 2023

p. 50013. Ombudsmen and inquirieslocked

p. 50013. Ombudsmen and inquirieslocked

  • Timothy EndicottTimothy EndicottFellow in Law, Balliol College, Professor of Legal Philosophy, University of Oxford


This chapter examines ombudsmen and other facilities for investigation of the working of government, and the ways in which they can resolve disputes and improve administration. The ombudsmen’s role has four key features: (1) it is independent; (2) it investigates a complaint; (3) it looks for injustice caused by maladministration; and (4) it makes a report. The chapter explains the ombudsman process, the Parliamentary Ombudsman, local government ombudsmen, and the effects of ombudsmen’s reports. The chapter also explains the law on judicial review of ombudsman decisions and judicial review of the way in which public authorities respond to ombudsman reports, and argues that the judicial process has very little to offer in improving the operation of ombudsman schemes. The role of inquiries is also explained, with discussion of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Inquiries Act 2005, and public authorities’ duties to inquire under the common law and the European Convention on Human Rights.

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