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Content updated: 11-11-2021 18:12

On the decisions of the Seimas Ombudsman to refuse to examine complaints

09-11-2021

By its ruling of 9 November 2021, in a case subsequent to an individual constitutional complaint, the Constitutional Court recognised that paragraph 2 of Article 18 of the Law on Administrative Proceedings (wording of 2 June 2016), insofar as, under that paragraph, it does not fall within the competence of the administrative courts to investigate the decisions of the Seimas Ombudsman to refuse to consider complaints on the grounds established in the Law on the Seimas Ombudsmen, is not in conflict with the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court drew the conclusion that the decision of the Seimas Ombudsman to refuse to consider complaints concerning the abuse of authority or bureaucratic intransigence by officials, whose investigation does not fall within the competence of the administrative courts under the impugned legal regulation, does not prevent a person who considers that his/her constitutional rights or freedoms are violated by means of the respective actions (or inaction) and/or decisions of state or municipal officials from applying to a court, including for possible abuse of authority or bureaucratic intransigence by state and municipal officials. According to the assessment of the Constitutional Court, a person may exercise the right to apply to a court, which is guaranteed in paragraph 1 of Article 30 of the Constitution, independently of the decisions taken by the Seimas Ombudsman regarding a complaint submitted to him/her, i.e. regardless of whether the Seimas Ombudsman investigated the complaint of that person and submitted appropriate proposals (recommendations) or refused to examine it on the grounds established by law.

The Constitutional Court noted that, according to paragraph 1 of Article 73 of the Constitution, the Seimas Ombudsman, as an independent and autonomously operating subsidiary extra-judicial institution for the protection of human rights, assists in ensuring the implementation of the imperatives of responsible governance, the responsibility of state authorities to society, and the protection of human rights and freedoms, which arise from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law, and performs the function of controlling the activities of state and municipal officials (except judges). The ruling also noted that the violation of the rights of a person who filed a complaint with the Seimas Ombudsman arises not from the refusal (which is outside the jurisdiction of the administrative courts) of the Seimas Ombudsman to investigate the complaint on the basis established by law, but from the actions of a state or municipal official that were appealed before the Seimas Ombudsman and that may also be appealed before the administrative courts.

It was held in the ruling that there are no grounds to state that the impugned legal regulation creates the preconditions for denying or excessively restricting the constitutional right of a person to apply to a court, or for violating the imperative of justice arising from the constitutional principle of a state under the rule of law.