After we have read the complaint – and perhaps requested more information from the citizen or the authority – we assess in some cases that we cannot help the citizen to a better outcome in the case or better legal rights.
In such cases, we close the case with a short letter where we explain the reason why we are of the opinion that we cannot help. A copy of the letter is sent to the authority.
The case is normally closed with a limited investigation in the following circumstances:
- There are assessments of evidence in the case which the Ombudsman cannot clarify (the Ombudsman only processes cases in writing). This is for example the scenario if the citizen and the authority disagree on facts which cannot be assessed on the existing written basis.
- The Ombudsman does not have the requisite specialist knowledge, for example medical expertise.
- The authority has undertaken an assessment (discretionary) which the Ombudsman does not investigate fully because the authorities are especially qualified by virtue of their experience within the field.
- The authority has already corrected the matters complained about.
- There is one or more insignificant problem(s) with the case processing but the authority’s result is correct.
In these cases, the authority may have committed formal errors or may not have fully complied with the rules. But we assess that a further investigation of the errors will not help the complainant to achieve a better outcome.
The Ombudsman’s processing of the case will normally take place pursuant to Section 16(1) and Section 16(2) of the Ombudsman Act.