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Public Law

Public Law (4th edn)

Mark Elliott and Robert Thomas
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date: 01 December 2023

p. 64316. Ombudsmen and Complaintslocked

p. 64316. Ombudsmen and Complaintslocked

  • Mark ElliottMark ElliottProfessor of Public Law, University of Cambridge
  •  and Robert ThomasRobert ThomasProfessor of Public Law, University of Manchester


This chapter examines systems for handling complaints against public bodies. It focuses particularly upon public sector ombudsmen while locating ombudsmen within the wider complaint-handling landscape. Public sector ombudsmen constitute an important mechanism by which the executive (and other public bodies) can be held to account. The relationship between ombudsmen and other accountability mechanisms, together with questions concerning the legal enforceability of ombudsmen’s findings, raise important issues about legal and political forms of constitutionalism. The multilayered nature of the UK’s constitution post-devolution has resulted in a diversity of ombudsman schemes and poses particular challenges in relation to the rationalisation of ombudsmen in England.

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