In order to fulfill its constitutional role, the People’s Advocate acts as a mediator, trying to find and propose solutions, either by bringing those involved to the same table, or by issuing recommendations.
At the same time, the People’s Advocate contributes to detecting and combating the phenomena that lead to the violation of citizens’ rights and freedoms, focusing on the need to continuously improve the activity of public administration in order to respect the legitimate interests of citizens.
Means of intervention:
o Notifying the public administration authorities concerned;
o Carrying out its own investigations, having the right to request from the public administration authorities any information or documents necessary for the investigation, to hear and take statements from the heads of the public administration authorities and from any public servant who can give the necessary information to solve the complaint;
o Issuing recommendations of the People’s Advocate. Through the issued recommendations, the People’s Advocate notifies the public administration authorities on the illegality of their administrative acts or deeds;
o If the People’s Advocate institution finds that the resolution of a complaint falls within the competence of the judicial authority, it may address, as the case may be, the Minister of Justice, the Superior Council of Magistracy, the Public Ministry or the president of the court, who are obliged to communicate the measures taken.
o In cases where the People’s Advocate finds, on the occasion of its investigations, gaps in legislation or serious cases of corruption or non-compliance with the laws of the country, it shall present a report to the Presidents of the two Houses of Parliament or, as the case may be, to the Prime Minister, concerning the findings.
o In the annual reports prepared by the People’s Advocate, it may make recommendations on amendments to legislation or other measures to protect the rights and freedoms of citizens.
The departments of the institution (specialized on various fields of activity) may request clarifications from the public authorities who are the subject of complaints or carry out investigations at their premises, in order to clarify the problems notified by the citizens or the problems in connection with which the institution proceeded ex officio as a result of the information that appeared in the public space.
During these investigations, the Ombudsperson, their deputies and the specialized staff of the institution have the right to enter the headquarters of any public administration authority, public institution or any public service subordinated to a public administration authority, even without announcing previously the concerned authority or its hierarchically superior leader, only on the basis of the power of attorney issued by the Ombudsperson or their deputies and / or the work ID badge.
They shall have access to any information or documents necessary for the investigation, may hear and take statements from the heads of public administration authorities and from any public servant who can give the information necessary for the resolution of the investigation. The Ombudsperson and their deputies have access, in accordance with the law, to classified information held by public authorities.
Depending on the problems identified, the higher hierarchical leaders of the authorities who are guilty of violating the fundamental rights and freedoms of the citizens may be notified, with the request to take measures and communicate them immediately to the People’s Advocate institution.
When it is not possible to intervene:
The limits of competence and, implicitly, of action of the People’s Advocate are given both by the constitutional text (Art. 58) and by its organic law (Art. 1, Art. 17 para. 4, Art. 17 para. 5, Art. 21 of Law No. 35/1997).
Therefore, there is a legal impediment for the Institution of the People’s Advocate to resolve any complaints concerning:
o resolving disputes and cases pending before the courts, prosecutor’s offices and the police (including enforcement of the court judgment);
o the activity of MPs
o the activity of the President of Romania
o the activity of the Constitutional Court
o the activity of the president of the Legislative Council
o the activity of the Government
In all these cases, the complaints will be rejected without further explanation.
Shall not considered and therefore will not be resolved the complaints which:
o are anonymous
o refer to acts or deeds of other authorities than those of the Romanian public administration
o concern violations of the rights of legal persons
Also manifestly unfounded complaints may be rejected.
The People’s Advocate does not have the power of legislative initiative (Art. 74 paragraph 1 of the Constitution), therefore it cannot promote draft laws or other normative acts for the modification / completion of legislation.