What is a complaint?
A complaint is a description of your problem and all the procedures you have followed in order to resolve it before reaching the point where you no longer know how to proceed.
To make your complaint you can either fill out the complaint form, or send an ordinary letter to the following address:
The Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia
You can also send an e-mail to the Human Rights Ombudsman (info(at)varuh-rs.si), although owing to technical limitations that prevent the transmission of the complainant’s authentic signature, the Ombudsman’s staff will request that you subsequently sign the complaint, or that you send a signed hard copy by ordinary mail .
A telephone conversation with an information officer at the Ombudsman’s office does not count as a complaint. The information officer merely explains what you need to do next, so that the ombudsman or his colleagues can begin dealing with your problem.
You do not need legal assistance to submit a written complaint. The procedure is informal and free of charge. Simply fill out the form in your own language and remember to include your personal details and signature (the Ombudsman cannot accept anonymous complaints). You may also lodge a complaint on behalf of someone else, but you must enclose the written consent of the person concerned when you send the complaint.
The working language of the Ombudsman is Slovene.
It is also possible to inform the Ombudsman in person about your problem, but before doing so you must first lodge a written complaint and book a personal appointment at the Ombudsman’s office in Ljubljana, or in your own hometown. Once a month the Ombudsman leaves his office and travels to different locations around the county, where he meets those people who are unable to come to Ljubljana.
What happens to your complaint once it has been lodged?
Once you have sent your complaint to the Human Rights Ombudsman, Dunajska 56, 1109 Ljubljana, Slovenia or to the e-mail address info(at)varuh-rs.si, its arrival is registered in the main office and it is then assigned to the member of the expert team who deals with rights violations of the type that you say has occurred in your case.
As noted above, the office employs severe experts, each of whom is responsible for dealing with specific types of rights violations.
When the relevant official receives your complaint, he examines it and does one of the following:
- notifies you that your complaint will be dealt with,
- contacts you to tell you that further information is required,
- notifies you that your complaint will not be dealt with and states the reasons for this,
- directs you to the possibilities of making a complaint that you have not yet tried,
- makes enquiries at the body that is alleged to have violated your rights (and waits for a response),
- makes enquiries at other bodies that could have done something to resolve your case but have not done so,
- informs you of how your case is progressing.
An official from the Ombudsman’s office will not contact you at every stage of the process!
He will merely notify you of the key stages in the process of dealing with your complaint and, of course, inform you of the result of our intervention.
There is no time limit for the processing of complaints. Unfortunately, it can sometimes take years, while other cases are resolved quickly.
The length of the process naturally depends on the complexity of the case, and on the cooperation of those involved.
When will the Ombudsman not deal with your complaint?
- If he establishes that it does not involve a violation of human rights, or fundamental freedoms or other irregularity,
- if your complaint is incomplete and you fail to complete it even after being advised to do so,
- if the case is already the subject of a proceeding before the courts, except if it involves the unjustified protraction of proceedings or a clear abuse of authority,
- if the matter is being dealt with by an investigative commission of the National Assembly,
- if all regular and extraordinary legal remedies have not been used, except in certain cases,
- if more than a year has passed since the action or last decision of the body involved, unless the Ombudsman considers that you have missed the complaint deadline for objective reasons.
The Ombudsman’s decision on whether or not to deal with a complaint is final. This means that you cannot appeal against the Ombudsman’s decision.