Before you file a complaint

Who can file a complaint with the Parliamentary Ombudsman?

Anyone can file a complaint with the Ombudsman, but if you do so, you yourself must have been the victim of the error or neglect your complaint concerns. Someone else can file the complaint on your behalf. In such cases, a letter of authority must be enclosed that clearly states that the person in question is authorised to complain on your behalf. For example, an organisation can file a complaint with the Ombudsman on behalf of one of its members provided that the member encloses a letter of authority or signs the complaint. Lawyers do not need authorisation to complain on behalf of their clients.

People who have been deprived of their liberty, e.g. prison inmates, are entitled to file complaints with the Ombudsman in sealed envelopes, without the letter being subjected to any form of censorship by the institution in question.

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When can I file a complaint

Kalender, tegnet illustrasjon Before you complain to the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the public administration must have been given an opportunity to remedy the situation and
make a final decision in your case. You must therefore have exhausted all possibilities of appeal available in the public administration.
To receive further guidance on how to appeal against the public administration’s decision, you can contact the public body that made the decision. Once the administration has made a final decision on the matters the case concerns, you can complain to the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

Remember that complaints must be filed with the Parliamentary Ombudsman within one year of the date of the final decision in your case. If your complaint concerns tardy case processing or lack of a reply, you can complain while your case is still being processed, but you must send a reminder first. The reminder must be in writing and must be enclosed with the complaint you submit to the Ombudsman.

What can I complain about?

The Parliamentary Ombudsman considers complaints against the central government, county and municipal administration. The complaints we receive concern nearly all areas of law in which the public administration operates, including:

  • Planning and building cases
  • Welfare and pensions
  • Health and care services
  • Social security benefits and child welfare
  • Appointments
  • Communication
  • Taxes
  • Immigration cases
  • Freedom of information and access to information
  • Police and prosecution
  • Business and industry, agriculture and reindeer husbandry
  • Correctional services

The Ombudsman also considers complaints concerning tardy case processing and the public administration’s failure to reply.

What can I not complain about?

Although the Parliamentary Ombudsman can investigate most types of cases that are considered by the public administration, there are some cases the Ombudsman cannot consider:

  • court decisions and decisions that can be brought before the courts by way of an appeal
  • matters on which the Storting has made a decision
  • decisions made by the King in Council
  • conflicts between private individuals, for example disputes between neighbours or in private contractual relationships
  • cases where the public administration is not exercising public authority, but acts as a private party
  • cases that have been decided by a municipal council or county council (with some exceptions)

Can the Parliamentary Ombudsman consider my complaint?

The Parliamentary Ombudsman is a control body that itself decides which cases to consider. Some matters are not suitable for consideration by and a statement from the Ombudsman. Examples of such cases are:

  • conflicts between private individuals and the public administration where there is disagreement about the facts of the case or where on-site inspections are important to the outcome
  • discretionary and professional assessments carried out by the public administration
  • cases where the parties require a legally binding decision

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