Ombudsmen Council

Chapter VII

Ombudsmen Council

Article 148(a). Standing, Investigation, Independence

   1. Everyone can lodge complaint with the Ombudsmen Council against alleged maladministration by the Federation, including its activity as a holder of private rights, provided that they are affected by such maladministration and in so far as they do not or no longer have recourse to legal remedy. All such complaints must be investigated by the Ombudsmen Council. The complainant shall be informed of the investigation's outcome and what action, if necessary, has been taken.

   2. The Ombudsmen Council is ex officio entitled to investigate its suspicions of maladministration by the Federation including its activity as a holder of private rights.

   3. The Ombudsmen Council is independent in the exercise of its authority.

Article 148(b). State Support, Secrecy

   1. All Federal, State, and County authorities shall support the Ombudsmen Council in the performance of its tasks, allow it inspection of its records, and upon request furnish the information required. Official secrecy is inoperative in the case of the Ombudsmen Council.

   2. The Ombudsmen Council must observe official secrecy to the same degree as the authority whom it has approached in the fulfillment of its tasks. The Ombudsmen Council is however bound by the observation of official secrecy in its reports to the House of Representatives only in so far as this is requisite on behalf of the interest of the parties concerned or of national security.

Article 148(c). Recommendations

    The Ombudsmen Council can issue to the authorities entrusted with the Federation's highest administrative business recommendations on measures to be taken in or by reason of a particular case. The authority concerned must within a deadline to be settled by Federal law either conform to these recommendations and inform the Ombudsmen Council accordingly or state in writing why the recommendations have not been complied with.

Article 148(d). Annual Report

    The Ombudsmen Council shall annually render the House of Representatives a report on its activity.

Article 148(e). Court Application

    On application by the Ombudsmen Council, the Constitutional Court pronounces on the illegality or otherwise of ordinances by a Federal authority.

Article 148(f). Ruling on Interpretation

    If differences of opinion arise between the Ombudsmen Council and the Federal Government or a Federal Minister on the interpretation of legal provisions, the Constitutional Court, on application by the Federal Government or the Ombudsmen Council, decides the matter in closed proceedings.

Article 148(g). Establishment

   1. The Ombudsmen Council has its seat in Vienna and consists of three members, one of whom acts in turn as chairman. The term of office lasts six years. Reelection of the Ombudsmen Council's members more than once is inadmissible.

   2. Ombudsmen Council members are elected by the House of Representatives on the basis of a joint recommendation drawn up by the Main Committee in the presence of at least half its members. Each of the three parties with the largest number of votes in the House of Representatives is entitled to nominate one member for this recommendation. The members of the Ombudsmen Council render an affirmation to the Federal President before their assumption of office.

   3. The Ombudsmen Council chairmanship rotates annually between the members in the sequence of the voting strength possessed by the parties who have nominated them. This sequence remains unchanged during the Ombudsmen Council's term of office.

   4. Should a Ombudsmen Council member retire prematurely, the party represented in the House of Representatives who nominated this member shall nominate a new member. The new election shall pursuant to Paragraph (2) be operative for the remaining term of office.

   5. Ombudsmen Council members must be eligible for the House of Representatives; during their service in office, they may belong neither to the Federal Government nor to a State government nor to any popular representative body and they may not practice any other profession.

Article 148(h). Appointment

   1. Ombudsmen Council officials are appointed by the Federal President on the recommendation and with the countersignature of the Ombudsmen Council chairman. The Federal President can however authorize him to appoint officials in certain categories. Auxiliary personnel is appointed by the chairman who is to this extent the highest administrative authority and exercises these powers in his own right.

   2. The Federation's service prerogative with regard to Ombudsmen Council employees is exercised by the Ombudsmen Council chairman.

   3. The Ombudsmen Council determines its Standing Orders and an allocation of business that regulates which tasks shall be autonomously performed by its members. The adoption of the Standing Orders and the allocation of business requires the unanimous vote of the Ombudsmen Council's members.

Article 148(i). State Matters

   1. The States can by State constitutional law declare the Ombudsmen Council competent also in the sphere of the particular State's administration. In such case Articles 148e and 148f shall apply analogously.

   2. If States create agencies in the sphere of State administration with tasks similar to the Ombudsmen Council, State constitutional law can prescribe a provision corresponding to Articles 148e and 148f .

Article 148(j). Ombudsmen Law

    Detailed provisions relating to the implementation of this chapter shall be made by Federal constitutional law.