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Oversight of Legality

The oversight of legality ensures that ministers comply with legislation in performing their duties. The Chancellor of Justice, who is appointed by the President of the Republic, and the Parliamentary Ombudsman, who is elected by Parliament, are the supreme overseers of legality in Finland.

Parliamentary oversight of legality focuses on the activities of the members of the Government. If Parliament believes that a minister has failed to comply with legislation in performing duties, it can decide to bring charges.

Oversight of legality by the Chancellor of Justice

The Chancellor of Justice works in connection with the Government and oversees the legality of the decisions and measures taken by the Government, the ministries and the President of the Republic. Ensuring that the Government complies with legislation is one of the most important duties of the Chancellor of Justice, who resolves matters regarding the supervision of the Government as well as matters of principle or of far-reaching consequence.

Upon request the Chancellor of Justice must provide the President, the Government and ministries with information and opinions on legal issues. Opinions are generally in written form but may be given orally. In addition to the opinions referred to in the Constitution, the Chancellor of Justice receives requests for statements on different legislative drafting projects.

The Chancellor of Justice conducts oversight by reviewing complaints submitted in writing. The Chancellor can also take the initiative in investigating a specific matter.

The division of labour between the Chancellor of Justice and the Parliamentary Ombudsman is prescribed in legislation. They do not examine the same matter at the same time. They operate independently and on an equal basis and do not scrutinise each other's procedures.

Parliamentary Ombudsman

The Parliamentary Ombudsman strives to ensure that public authorities comply with legislation and also oversees the legality of the decisions and measures taken by the Government, the ministries and the President of the Republic.

The Ombudsman conducts oversight impartially and independently of Parliament. The Ombudsman submits an annual report to Parliament, along with special reports as necessary.

Anyone who feels that an authority has not complied with legislation or has failed to meet obligations in performing duties can file a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. The Ombudsman can also take the initiative in investigating a specific matter.

Constitutional Law Committee

The Constitutional Law Committee is mainly responsible for issuing statements on the constitutionality of legislative proposals and other matters brought to its attention, as well as their relation to international human rights treaties.

The Constitutional Law Committee also considers matters related to ministerial responsibility, the reports of the Chancellor of Justice and the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Government Annual Report. The committee may consult with the Chancellor of Justice and the Parliamentary Ombudsman.

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