Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can the Ombudsman deal with cases that are already before the courts?
The Ombudsman cannot deal with cases that are the subject of a proceeding before the courts except if an unjustified protraction of proceedings or a clear abuse of authority is involved.
2. Does the ombudsman have any powers in relation to the private sector?
The ombudsman has no powers in relation to the private sector. This means that he cannot investigate violations caused by subjects of private law. The Ombudsman can only investigate cases of unlawful or incorrect work by state bodies, local government bodies and holders of public authority.
3. What is a complaint?
It is a description of your problem and all the procedures you have followed in order to resolve it before reaching the point where you no longer know how to proceed. To make your complaint you can either fill out the complaint form or send an ordinary letter. You can also send Electronic form of Complaint to the Human Rights Ombudsman, although owing to technical limitations that prevent the transmission of the complainant’s authentic signature, the Ombudsman’s staff will request that you subsequently sign the complaint, or that you send a signed hard copy by ordinary mail to: Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, Dunajska 56, 1109 Ljubljana, Slovenia.
A telephone conversation with an information officer at the ombudsman’s office does not count as a complaint. The information officer merely explains what you need to do next so that the ombudsman or his colleagues can begin dealing with your problem.
You do not need legal assistance to submit a written complaint. The procedure is informal and free of charge. Simply fill out the form provided in your own language and remember to include your personal details and signature (the Ombudsman cannot accept anonymous complaints).
4. Who is entitled to lodge a complaint?
A complaint may by lodged by any individual or group who considers that their human rights or fundamental freedoms to have been violated by state bodies, local government bodies or holders of public authority.
5. Can someone else lodge a complaint on your behalf?
A complaint can also be lodged on your behalf by someone else but they will need to obtain your written consent and enclose it with the complaint.
6. What is the procedure for resolving complaints?
Once you have sent your complaint to the Office of the Human Rights Ombudsman, Dunajska 56, 1109 Ljubljana, Slovenia, or to the e-mail address info(at)varuh-rs.si, its arrival is registered in the main office and it is then assigned to the member of the expert team who deals with rights violations of the type that you say has occurred in your case.
When the relevant official receives your complaint, he examines it and does one of the following:
A) notifies you that your complaint will be dealt with,
B) contacts you to tell you that further information is required,
C) notifies you that your complaint will not be dealt with and states the reasons for this,
D) directs you to the possibilities of making a complaint that you have not yet tried,
E) makes enquiries at the body that is alleged to have violated your rights (and waits for a response),
F) makes enquiries at other bodies that could have done something to resolve your case but have not done so,
G) informs you of how your case is progressing.
An official from the Ombudsman’s office will not contact you at every step of the process! He will merely notify you of the key stages in the process of dealing with your complaint and of course inform you of the result of our intervention. There is no time limit on the processing of complaints. Unfortunately it can sometimes take years, while other cases are resolved quickly. The length of the process naturally depends on the complexity of the case, and on the cooperation of those involved.
7. How many complaints does the Ombudsman deal with in an average year?
The number of cases dealt with by the Ombudsman’s office in a year ranges from 2,800 to 3,500. This means that the Ombudsman receives around 10 new cases each day.
8. How many complaints are resolved in an average year?
On average the Ombudsman resolves between 2,800 and 3,700 complaints a year.
9. Who deals with complaints at the Ombudsman’s office?
Each area of human rights is the responsibility of one or more members of the ombudsman’s expert team, who deal with your complaints. They are supervised by the ombudsman’s deputies, each of whom has specific areas of responsibility. Click here to see which deputy or member of the team is responsible for the area that interests you.
10. Is it possible to send a complaint by e-mail?
Complaints can be sent by e-mail but because of the technical limitations that make it impossible for the complainant to "sign" the e-mail, you will be asked to send a signed copy of your complaint by standard mail.
11. Can the Ombudsman investigate violations caused by institutions of the European Union?
No, the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia cannot investigate complaints relating to institutions of the European Union. Such complaints fall under the jurisdiction of the European Ombudsman, who investigates complaints relating to failures or abuses in the administration of the institutions and bodies of the European Union.
12. Does the Ombudsman deal with complaints from foreigners?
The Ombudsman also deals with complaints from foreign nationals whose rights have been violated by state bodies, local government bodies or holders of public authority in Slovenia. Foreign nationals may lodge a complaint in their own language.
13. Does the Ombudsman deal with complaints from children and adolescents?
Children and adolescents can apply directly to the Ombudsman with their problems. Adults can also make a complaint on their behalf. They can call the freephone number 080 15 30, send an e-mail to info(at)varuh-rs.si, or write to the ombudsman at Dunajska 56, 1109 Ljubljana, p.p. 2590, Slovenia They can also call in person at the ombudsman’s office in Ljubljana.
Children do not have as "loud" a voice as adults and are therefore frequently overlooked. Neither do they have the experience or the established channels that would enable them to achieve the protection of their rights. The Human Rights Ombudsman is available to represent them in their dealings with adults. The Ombudsman has a special department for the protection and promotion of the rights of children and young people.
For more information see the section Children & youth.
If you have some more questions, please do not hesitate to ask.