Title: The evolution of the classical ombudsman: a view from the antipodes

Authors: Anita Stuhmcke

Addresses: Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Abstract: The traditional core functions of a classical ombudsman are the investigation of individual complaints and own motion investigations of administrative action into areas of systemic importance. The ombudsman institution is an evolving one. Classical ombudsmen are using their systemic investigation powers more frequently to improve the quality of public administration. Further, there is an increasing variety of functions, such as auditing and monitoring, which are now ascribed to the jurisdiction of ombudsmen. This article investigates the changes occurring in the scale and scope of ombudsmen functions and argues that three models of classical ombudsman may now be identified. An explanation of these models and the reasons for changes in the operation of ombudsmen is provided through the experience of the nine Australian Federal, State and Territory classical ombudsmen.

Keywords: classical ombudsmen; ombudsman jurisdiction; public administration; administrative law; traditional functions; core functions; individual complaints; own motion investigations; administrative action; systemic importance; evolving institutions; investigative powers; auditing; monitoring; reactive ombudsman model; variegated ombudsman model; proactive ombudsman model; Commonwealth Ombudsman; Australian Capital Territory; Queensland; New South Wales; Western Australia; South Australia; Victoria; Tasmania; federal ombudsmen; state ombudsmen; public law; public policy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPLAP.2012.045224

International Journal of Public Law and Policy, 2012 Vol.2 No.1, pp.83 - 95

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 31 Jan 2012 *

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