Korean Ombudsman

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The purpose of the Korean Ombudsman is to redress or resolve complaints and grievances of the people caused by illegal or unfair administrative measures.

It is organized as an independent committee that operates under the sponsorship of the Prime Minister. The Ombudsman of Korea carries out independently functions without any intervention or instruction from the Prime Minister.


The Ombudsman of Korea was established in April 1994, following the passage of the Basic Law Governing Administrative Regulations and Civil Petition Affairs in December 1993.


The Ombudsman of Korea is an independent administrative institution in which members have a vote in the decision-making process. Members include a chef ombudsman and three standing ombudsmen and seven non-standing ombudsmen, all of whom are appointed by the President, while the office of Secretary General, who is in charge of the affairs of the Secretariat, is served by one of the permanent ombudsmen. An attorney with previous experience as a judge or a public prosecutor is chosen for the post of Chief Ombudsman.


The Ombudsman of Korea has the authority to conduct investigations on grievances submitted by the people. However, the current system does not allow any statutory authority to open investigations on its own initiative. Likewise, recommendations for corrective measure issued by The Ombudsman of Korea toward the relevant government agency have no legal-binding force. Instead, the decisions of The Ombudsman of Korea carries the force to be executed since the institution is vested with the powers to require the head of the relevant administrative agency to notify the result of settlement within specified period, to publicize its activities in the public media or to the general public, and to present reports directly to the President.

The major functions of The Ombudsman of Korea

1)          Consulting, investigation and settlement of civil petitions for grievances

2)          Recommendations for corrective measures when investigations reveal unlawful or unreasonable administrative procedures

3)          Stating opinions or making recommendations for improvement of administrative systems and their operations

4)          Requiring relevant administrative agencies to provide notification of settlements that are conducted as a result of recommendations or opinions conveyed as stated above in provisions 2) and 3).

□ Jurisdiction

Though the major function of The Ombudsman of Korea is to prevent government agencies from infringing on the rights and interests of citizens, it cannot deal with all citizen complaints.

The Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over matters that

Require high-level political decisions or involve secret material.
Relate to the National Assembly, the Courts, the Constitutional Court, the Central Election Management Committee, the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI), and local councils.
Relate to the privacy of individuals.
Relate to a prosecutorial jurisdiction, execution of a sentence, or other matters under inspection by the BAI.
Are on appeal for administrative judgment and lawsuit, constitutional judgment, and appeal by the Constitutional Court, and request for review by the BAI, and other related laws.
Have settlement procedures in progress among the parties by way of arbitration, compromise, reconciliation, mediation, or which have been settled through the procedures of arbitration, compromise, decision, or judgment.
Relate to the personnel administrative acts of government officials or civil employees.
Relate to the operation of the Ombudsman of Korea.
The Ombudsman of Korea considers inappropriate to handle as complaints.

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