Research Handbook on the Ombudsman
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Research Handbook on the Ombudsman

Edited by Marc Hertogh and Richard Kirkham

The public sector ombudsman has become one of the most important administrative justice institutions in many countries around the world. This international and interdisciplinary Research Handbook brings together leading scholars and practitioners to discuss the state-of-the-art of ombudsman research. It uses new empirical studies and competing theoretical explanations to critically examine important aspects of the ombudsman’s work. This comprehensive Handbook is of value to academics designing future ombudsman studies and practitioners and policymakers in understanding the future challenges of the ombudsman.
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Chapter 25: The twenty-first century Ombudsperson: a guarantor of democracy

Manuel Lezertua


Contemporary societies are witnessing profound social, political and economic changes. The social State model itself is under challenge. The uncertainties faced by our societies are toppling traditional models, leading to a reconsideration of the theory of rights, as well as of the role of public powers and guarantor institutions. In this emerging society, a reflection on the role held by Ombudspersons is required, given its double-faceted nature, as an institution to guarantee citizen rights and as an institution to control the exercise of public power. Ombudspersons must promote sustainability of the welfare State, removing obstacles preventing equality amongst citizens. Moreover, in their position as an independent authority, Ombudspersons possesses privileged instruments to promote a culture of citizen’s participation in public life. Furthermore, the possibility of carrying out ex-officio actions, issuing general recommendations or drawing up specific reports on the effectiveness of different public policies and areas of administrative action enables Ombudspersons to address issues of general interest, both from a perspective of guaranteeing rights and promoting good governance.

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