The Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) are appointed by the Swedish Riksdag (parliament) to ensure that public authorities and their staff comply with the laws and other statutes governing their actions.
Questions regarding legal representation for minors in cases concerning resident permit based on family ties are complex, which depends on, among other things, that the assessment of the legal representative’s authorization to appear for the minor coincides with the assessment of the actual case. In the decision the Parliamentary Ombudsmen address the question of legal representation in cases related to family ties concerning parents and children that come from countries where it is difficult or impossible for applicants to prove their identity with recognized means of proof. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen holds that the one that makes it probable that he or she is parent to a minor applicant should be presumed legal representative of the minor and accordingly authorized to appear for the minor. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen also points out that once the presumption is made all communication in the case should go via the legal representative. In the decision the Parliamentary Ombudsmen also address the question of when an application by a supposed legal representative should be rejected or examined, and state that the legal representative, in all cases, should be notified of the decision. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen the Migration Agency’s legal standpoint regarding authorised legal representatives for children in cases concerning resident permit (SR 08/2015) comply with the rule of law, also when taking into account that there are some uncertainties about the procedure.
More than seven months passed before the Enforcement Authority handed over a case on debt clearance to a case officer. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the authority for not meeting the statute-regulated requirements for these cases to be processed speedily
More than seven months passed before the Enforcement Authority began processing a case on debt clearance. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen directs criticism towards the authority for not meeting the statute-regulated requirements for these cases to be processed speedily
In complaints to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen criticism has been put forward against the handling by Västerås municipality of a transfer of operations of a guest marina to a private company and a concession of an area used for wakeboarding activities to a non-profit association. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen’s investigation prove that the head of department of the administration for culture, sports and recreation on the 28th of April 2014 reached a verbal agreement with the company concerning the operations of the guest marina, from the 15th of March to 31st of December 2015. Not until the 8th of December 2014 a contract was signed by the partners. The investigation further proves that the concession of an area used for wakeboarding activities was based on a verbal agreement between the head of department and the non-profit association, during 2014. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen holds that there are several explicit reasons why an administration should document a business transaction, like the one in this case. A written contract is the principle evidence of reaching a settlement, it specifies which conditions the partners have agreed upon and which obligations the partners have committed to. The lack of documentation in this case has also led to unjustified restrictions of transparency and control of the municipal operations. Criticism is directed towards the head of department as well as the Board for sports and recreation in Västerås municipality.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen has examined the Migration Agency’s routine to send the first page of a decision in cases concerning resident permit based on family ties to a reference person (i.e. the person in Sweden the applicant has a family tie to) for knowledge. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen notes that a dispatch to a reference person that does not have a power of attorney to represent the applicant can be considered an act of service. The act can aid applicants in making the most of their legal rights. However, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen express uncertainty when it comes to dispatching incomplete documents as it, among other things, may lead to misunderstandings. If the Migration Agency keep this routine the dispatch should include information of the fact that it only contains the first page of the decision and that it is sent to the reference person for knowledge. In the decision the Parliamentary Ombudsmen also directs criticism against the Migration Agency for using data based on a notification concerning a decision from an embassy to determine if an appeal was filed in time, despite there being circumstances in the case that proved that there were reasons to be hesitant about the data. The Parliamentary Ombudsmen holds that it is the Migration Agency’s responsibility, as they determine if an appeal is filed within the correct timeframe, to decide when the party to the appeal could access the decision and to conduct an independent assessment of all available facts.
A man had received a rejection on his application for asylum and was going to be expelled to Uganda. The now defunct Police Authority in Stockholm County was responsible for enforcing the expulsion decision avert. After the man had indicated that there were obstacles against enforcing the expulsion decision the Migration Court granted the man a new examination. This meant that the expulsion decision avert could not be enforced. Despite of this the Police Authority enforced the expulsion to Uganda. The case officer responsible for processing the case is criticised for not controlling if there were any obstacles against enforcing the decision, in connection to the man’s departure from Sweden. The Police Authority is also criticised for how they processed the case. Further criticism is directed towards the Administrative Court in Stockholm, the Migration Court, for not informing the Police Authority they granted the man a new examination. Finally, the Migration Agency is criticised for delaying to register the Migration Court’s decision in the police’s data base for monitoring obstacles in executional matters.
Criticism of the Municipal Executive Board in Åstorp municipality for delegating the role of being crisis management committee to their labour committee contrary to what the municipal council has decided on the committee’s organisation as well as the regulations on delegation provided in the Local Government Act
A women had received a rejection on her application for asylum and was going to be expelled from Sweden. The Police Authority was responsible for enforcing the expulsion decision. The woman, who was sick and not able to speak the language nor had knowledge about the legal system, had hired a legal representative to assist her in her communication with the police. The woman and her legal representative requested all communication should go via the legal representative and that the legal representative should be informed on an ongoing basis about the Police Authority’s measures. On two occasions, when the police needed to obtain the woman’s consent on certain procedures, the police contacted the woman without informing the legal representative. The legal representative also requested to access the case documents on a number of occasions. In the decision the Parliamentary Ombudsmen ascertains that the right to be represented by a legal representative pursuant to section 9 of the Administrative Procedure Act not includes enforcement cases where the Police Authority’s processing is limited to actual measures to enforce an already legally binding expulsion decision or decision to refuse entry, e.g. make travel arrangements. The purpose of the Administrative Procedure Act’s regulations is, among other things, to establish an adequate administration and a procedure in compliance with rule of law, motivates however that the regulations are still applied. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsmen the outset for the police, when communicating with an individual in an enforcement case, should be to go via the legal representative and that the police informs the legal representative about the actions taken. Furthermore, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen points out that the regulation on party insight pursuant to section 16 of the Administrative Procedure Act is not applicable if the Police Authority’s processing in enforcement cases are limited to actual measures. Naturally this does not prevent the fact that there may be good reasons for an individual to access documents and information in a case. When dealing with a request to access documents the authority must also consider the individual’s rights pursuant to the regulations on the disclosure of public documents. In the decision the Police Authority is criticised for, among other things, not informing the legal representative before contacting the woman and for inadequate processing of the legal representative’s request to access documents.
• Visit from Estonia on December 6-8
During the autumn, JO Stefan Holgersson will begin a series of inspections focusing on unaccompanied minors to see if their basic rights are being respected.
On 9 June, Justice of the Supreme Administrative Court Elisabeth Rynning was elected unanimously by Parliament to be the new Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen's overall statements for each supervisory area the year 2014/15. »»
The Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsmen - JOBox 16327 • SE-103 26 Stockholm • SwedenVisiting Address: Västra Trädgårdsgatan 4 AOpening hours: 9.00–12.00, 13.00–15.00