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An introduction about the Law Ombudsman, its establishment, role and importance, and the authority and power it possesses.

The Law Ombudsman is also known as the Legal Ombudsman. He is a part of the system of administrative law who keeps an eye on and intervenes the work of an executive as the legislature appoints him. The Ombudsman enjoys an ample amount of independence and freedom in its work. He/she is mostly responsible for keeping an eye on the system’s proper functioning to ensure that the civilians are not deprived of their rights by discovering and eliminating malpractices in legal administration.

The methods of the Ombudsman include anything from putting pressure on the legislative assembly to rectify wrongdoing, publicising an unfair decision, or bringing the matter to the legislature’s attention.

History and Background

The history of the Legal Ombudsman or Law Ombudsman dates back to 1809 when Sweden established its first Ombudsman office. The Ombudsman was occupied with civil affairs and appointed the Legislative assembly. The idea was to establish an independent body that isn’t controled by either the Executive or the Judiciary and who could intervene in the details of any administrative act if reported to them by any individual as maladministration. 

He had the authority to prosecute even the ministers themselves on certain occasions.

Over time things have changed a bit; the Swedish Ombudsman can now act as a public prosecutor, although he doesn’t often do so.

After the Scandinavian countries adopted the institution of the Ombudsman, many countries started establishing these institutions post-mid-1950 like New Zealand, The United Kingdom, the United States of America, Portugal, Israel, Australia, Netherlands, and many more.

Why feel the need for an Ombudsman?

There is no doubt regarding the importance of a Law Ombudsman and his power. Part of an Ombudsman’s job is assuring the civilians who believe they have faced injustice by the administrative assembly due to malpractices based on uncertain grounds. An Ombudsman is responsible for careful inquiry of wrongdoing and has the authority to ask for the details of any case entirely.

Power & Authority of a Law Ombudsman

Although an Ombudsman is an independent authority that is not answerable to either the Executive or the Judiciary.

  • An Ombudsman has the authority to ask for the complete details of any particular case where he believes justice was not served to the individual.

  • He can also demand an inquiry where he believes injustice was served to the civilian-based on false evidence or assumption.

  • At times, an Ombudsman can also act as a public prosecutor to defend the rights of civilians. However, it has rarely happened in the past.

  • An Ombudsman can also prosecute even the ministers themselves on certain occasions.

Ombudsman System in India

The administrative system has acquired great power over the years. With great power also comes responsibilities, and often when someone is delegated. Powers without any supervision chances of corruption and malpractices abound. The foremost reason for establishing an Ombudsman system in India was solely dedicated to closely supervising the powers and their use by the Administrative and judicial assembly. After the Judiciary, parliament, and the Executive proved unsuccessful in controlling their powers, an Ombudsman system was established in October 1996 under the supervision of Morarji Desai.

Under the influence of Other western countries, India established its Ombudsman system but with some unique features of its own.

Unlike other countries, India has a much larger population. Keeping this in mind, the Administrative Reform Commission proposed to have an independent body for the supervision over the administrative powers, which the Government of India then accepted.


In this article, we have talked about the Ombudsman, how this body was established to supervise the powers and controls of the Administrative body—established as an independent body to protect civilians from wrongdoing and restrict the misuse of powers by the administrative authorities. Talking about the history and background of the Ombudsman, we have gathered information about the establishment of this body, why there was a need to establish it, and how it can help civilians if they have been served injustice. Being an Ombudsman has its independent powers and authorities to question, comment, and ask on details of any cases. However, there are certain restrictions on his powers as well.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the UPSC Examination Preparation.

What is the Law Ombudsman Fee?

Ans. Since a Law Ombudsman is a body established for conserving civilians’ rights, it has a fair and affor...Read full

How to reach out to a law Ombudsman?

Ans. There is a dedicated office in every state for the law Ombudsman where you can go and file your complai...Read full

What type of complaints can a Law Ombudsman fight?

Ans. The Law Ombudsman can only look into complaints about Regulated Legal Service Providers. For instance, ...Read full

Do they consider complaints about professional negligence?

Ans. The job of a Law Ombudsman is not to comment on poor service by the service provider or professional ne...Read full