Concepts, Theories and Policies of Administrative Justice
Although it was argued in Chapter 2 that the ombudsman enterprise operates within a wide-ranging and complex network of accountability institutions, insofar as the ombudsman’s work can be compartmentalized it fits into a distinct subset of the constitution known as the ‘administrative justice system’. Much of the later analysis in this book will demonstrate that maximizing the potential of the ombudsman enterprise will involve the proper and full integration of the ombudsman into the administrative justice system. The extent to which this system is coherently organized is the subject of much academic and political critique. Nevertheless, within recent policy developments and academic thinking there are signs of agreed thinking on the purposes of the administrative justice system. What is striking, although hardly surprising, is the degree of fit between these goals and the work of the ombudsmen. In particular, the emphasis in the administrative justice system has moved on from retrospectively resolving disputes to feeding back information into the administrations complained against in order to prevent mistakes recurring. In essence, this is exactly the duality of roles that the ombudsman is already so well designed to perform.