Complaining to the Ombudsman

Can I complain to the Ombudsman?

If you believe that a public authority has committed errors in your case, you may complain to the Danish Parliamentary Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman has been appointed by the Danish Parliament to consider such cases. It is his task to supervise all parts of the public administration – including the state, the regions, the local authorities and other public bodies. But not the courts of justice or the Parliament. The Ombudsman cannot consider complaints about private establishments either.

Anybody may complain. It is free of charge, and your complaint has to meet only a few conditions. For instance, you need to enclose a power of attorney if you complain on behalf of others. If you need a power of attorney, you may use the form you find here.

How do I complain?

You do not need to phrase your letter to the Ombudsman in any particular way or use specific legal terms but merely explain which authority (or public employee) you wish to complain of, and why.

We also ask that you send a copy of the decision you wish to complain of, together with the documents that are important to the case. (They may be letters from you to the authority, replies from the authority, statements, etc.).

Your complaint to the Ombudsman must not be anonymous. You always need to state your name and address in your letter – also if you are sending your complaint in an email.

In many cases, the Ombudsman forwards your complaint to the authority or authorities you complain about. Apart from this, the Ombudsman is bound to secrecy.

Your complaint must be delivered to the Ombudsman within one year.

What may I gain from my complaint?

If the Ombudsman concludes that an administrative authority has made an error in your case, he may criticize the authority and possibly recommend that the authority reconsiders the case and makes a new decision.

Please keep in mind that the Ombudsman cannot himself make a new decision in your case. Only the authority can do so. Consequently, the Ombudsman’s task is to explain to the authority that in his opinion it has committed an error.

The Ombudsman cannot sentence an authority or apply any kind of sanction.

Can I be sure that the Ombudsman considers my case?

The Ombudsman is not obligated to consider all complaints. But he assesses carefully whether he should proceed with your case.

If it is possible for you to complain to another administrative authority, you should do so first. If you are in doubt, you may contact the authority where the case comes from, or ask us.

If your complaint contains issues that the authority has not considered previously, the Ombudsman often sends your complaint to the authority and asks that it replies to you.