Regulations regarding the organisation and activities of the Equality and anti-discrimination ombud and the Equality and anti-discrimination tribunal
Regulation | Date: 17/02/2006 | Ministry of Children and Families
Originally published by: Ministry of Children and Equality
(Laid down by Royal Decree of 16 December 2005. Laid down pursuant to sections 8 and 16 of the Act of 10 June 2005 No. 40 on the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud and the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal. Issued by the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs.)
Part I The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud
Section 1 The mandate of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Ombud
The Ombud shall monitor and contribute to ensuring compliance with the provisions specified in section 1, second paragraph, of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act. The Ombud shall also work to promote genuine equality and equal treatment, cf. section 3, first paragraph, of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act.
The Ombud shall view the various discriminatory grounds conjunction with one another, and develop cross-sectoral expertise and an ability to deal with multiple discrimination at the interface between gender and other discriminatory grounds.
The Ombud’s function of promoting equality and developing expertise entails the following tasks:
- A proactive role
The Ombud shall play a proactive role in promoting equality and combating discrimination, and shall monitor developments in society with a view to exposing and calling attention to matters that counteract equality and equal treatment.
- Influencing attitudes and behaviour
The Ombud shall help to raise awareness of equality and equal treatment and actively promote changes in attitudes and behaviour. The Ombud shall play an active part in giving the general public information about status and challenges.
- Support and guidance
The Ombud shall provide information, support and guidance in efforts to promote equality and counteract discrimination in the public, private and voluntary sectors.
- Advisory service on ethnic diversity in working life
The Ombud shall provide advice and guidance on ethnic diversity in working life to employers in the public and private sectors. The service shall be provided free of charge and be adapted to the needs of the individual employer. Furthermore, the Ombud shall help to disseminate examples of good practices and to increase knowledge of methods for promoting ethnic diversity in working life.
The Ombud shall have an overview of and provide knowledge and help to develop expertise on and documentation of equality and equal treatment, as well as monitor the nature and extent of discrimination.
The Ombud shall serve as a meeting place and information centre for a broad public and facilitate collaboration between actors who work to combat discrimination and promote equality.
Section 2 Duty to provide guidance
In addition to the general duty to provide guidance pursuant to section 11 of the Public Administration Act, the Ombud shall in an appropriate manner provide guidance in connection with individual applications regarding discrimination other than that which is covered by section 1, second paragraph, of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act.
Section 3 Application to the Ombud
An application to the Ombud may be made both in writing and orally.
If under the circumstances there is reason to do so, the Ombud may request that the person concerned state in writing that he or she wishes to make a complaint. Otherwise oral complaints shall be put down in writing by the Ombud.
Section 4 Summary dismissal and dropping of cases. Grounds, etc.
The Ombud shall state the grounds for dismissing summarily or dropping a case. If a case is dismissed summarily because it lies within the competence of another body, the Ombud shall refer the complainant to the proper body. With the consent of the complainant the Ombud may remit the case to the said body.
The Ombud shall inform the complainant of the possibilities for bringing a case that has been dismissed summarily or dropped before the Tribunal.
Section 5 The opinion of the Ombud
In his opinion the Ombud may state what must be done to bring the situation into compliance with the law and may fix a time-limit within which the unlawful situation must be brought to an end.
Section 6 Notification of the Ombud’s administrative decision in urgent cases
The parties to the case shall be notified of administrative decisions made by the Ombud pursuant to section 4 of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act.
The Ombud may decide that the decision is to be served pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 9 of the Courts of Justice Act insofar as they are appropriate.
When giving notification of the administrative decision, the Ombud shall explain that the administrative decision may be appealed to the Tribunal and state the time-limit for such appeal.
The Ombud shall also explain which criminal law consequences may be entailed by failure to comply with the administrative decision, cf. section 13 of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act.
Section 7 The Ombud’s implementation of the decisions of the Tribunal
The Ombud shall:
a. submit proposals to the Tribunal regarding the cases in which the Tribunal should request public prosecution ,
- assist the police and the prosecuting authority in any criminal case,
- inform the Tribunal of new facts or experiences that could have significance for the work of the Tribunal.
Part II The Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal
Section 8 Appointment of the Tribunal’s members and deputy members, etc.
The King will appoint the members, including the chairperson and the deputy chairperson, and deputy members of the Tribunal pursuant to the provisions of section 5 of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act.
The Tribunal shall be divided into two divisions. Each division shall be composed of members with competence to deal with matters in all areas of the Tribunal’s sphere of activity. When the term tribunal is used in the following provisions of these Regulations, it means a division of the Tribunal unless it is otherwise stated.
The deputy members shall serve by turns and are not connected to a specific division.
The Ministry shall determine the remuneration of the members of the Tribunal.
Section 9 The Tribunal’s secretariat
The Ministry shall appoint the staff of the secretariat.
The secretariat shall make arrangements for meetings of the Tribunal and prepare the cases that are to be dealt with by the Tribunal, notify the persons concerned of the administrative decisions and opinions of the Tribunal and, when there is reason to do so, ensure that the Tribunal’s decisions are complied with, and shall monitor that the time-limit for compliance with orders to remedy a matter or stop an act is observed, and carry out any other tasks assigned to it by the Tribunal and the Tribunal’s chairperson.
The secretariat shall collect coercive fines imposed pursuant to section 8 of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act.
Section 10 Delegation of authority
The Tribunal may make an administrative decision to the effect that the chairperson of the Tribunal shall be able to decide specific procedural questions outside of meetings. Authority pursuant to sections 6, 7 and 8 of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act may not be delegated.
Section 11. Preparation of cases
The Tribunal’s chairperson shall be responsible for distributing cases between the divisions of the Tribunal.
The Tribunal’s secretariat shall prepare a written summary of the case which shall be submitted to the Ombud and the parties to the case for comment.
In the preparatory proceedings, the secretariat shall request such information or statements from the Ombud and the parties to the case as are deemed necessary in order to clarify the case.
If a case that is to be dealt with by the Tribunal directly or indirectly concerns a wage agreement or provisions in a wage agreement, the parties to the wage agreement shall be notified in writing and given an opportunity to express their opinion on the case.
The Tribunal may also give other persons an opportunity to express their opinion on a case, if they must be deemed to have a special interest in the outcome of the case or if it is assumed that they can contribute to elucidating the case.
A time-limit may be set for expressing an opinion.
The Tribunal may otherwise carry out such investigations as it deems necessary to ensure the adequate preparation of the case, for instance the Tribunal or its representatives may carry out on-site investigations and the Tribunal may make use of expert assistance.
Section 12 Scheduling and convening of meetings
The Tribunal’s chairperson is responsible for scheduling Tribunal meetings as often as it is deemed necessary. If at least two members so request, a meeting shall be scheduled within a reasonable time in order to deal with specified cases.
The Tribunal’s chairperson may decide to convene meetings where it is favourable to do so in light of the cases that are to be dealt with.
The parties to the case shall be informed that they have the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Tribunal. The Tribunal may summon the parties if it believes this to be necessary for the elucidation of the case.
The Tribunal may summon witnesses or experts if it deems this to be necessary for the elucidation of the case.
Notice of a meeting shall as a rule be sent to the members and other persons who shall or may attend the meeting not later than three weeks in advance. The agenda and documents relating to the cases that are to be dealt with at the meeting shall, as a rule, be sent to the members of the Tribunal not later than one week before the meeting.
If a member of the Tribunal is unable to attend the meeting, the member shall give notice of this as soon as possible. The secretariat shall summon a deputy member.
Section 13 Quorum for administrative decision
The Tribunal may make an administrative decision when at least half of its members, including at least one of the permanent members, take part in the proceedings relating to the decision.
Section 14 Disqualification
If a member deems that he or she is disqualified in a case, he or she shall inform the secretariat accordingly as soon as possible. The secretariat shall summon a deputy member.
In questions of whether a member is disqualified, the provisions of sections 106-108 of the Courts of Justice Act shall apply. In all other respects the provisions of Chapter II of the Public Administration Act shall apply.
Section 15 Tribunal meetings. Oral proceedings
As a rule the Tribunal shall deal with cases in oral proceedings.
The parties to the case have a right to participate in the proceedings.
Tribunal meetings shall be chaired by the Tribunal’s chairperson, or by the deputy chairperson if the chairperson is not present. If neither the Tribunal’s chairperson nor the deputy chairperson is present, a chairperson shall be elected among the members present.
The Tribunal’s secretariat may make an oral presentation of the case at the meeting, if the Tribunal so desires.
The parties and the Ombud shall then have the opportunity to present their views of the case. The parties may bring a proxy with them.
The Tribunal may examine the parties and witnesses. The provisions of the Civil Procedure Act shall, insofar as they are appropriate, apply to parties, witnesses and experts who make a statement to the Tribunal.
Section 16 Hearing of cases without oral proceedings
If the Tribunal deems the documents that have been submitted during the preparatory proceedings to be sufficient for making an administrative decision in a case, the case may be dealt with without oral proceedings, provided the parties are not opposed thereto. A decision to this effect shall be made during the preparatory proceedings by the Tribunal’s chairperson subject to the approval of the Tribunal.
Section 17 Administrative decisions and opinions
When the proceedings are concluded, the Tribunal shall deliberate and vote on the case. Deliberation and voting may be postponed until a subsequent meeting.
The Tribunal may postpone deliberation and voting if the facts of the case have not been sufficiently elucidated. In such case, the Tribunal shall indicate which further information it deems to be required or which new persons it wishes to summon to make a statement.
An administrative decision is deemed to have been made when all the members who participated in deliberation and voting have signed the decision.
Section 18 Coercive fines
The Tribunal shall in each particular case make a specific assessment of whether to impose a coercive fine. If the Tribunal makes an administrative decision to impose a coercive fine, a new time limit for complying with the order shall be set.
A coercive fine shall be imposed as a continuous daily fine. It shall be payable in daily instalments from the first weekday after the time limit in the order expires.
The amount of the coercive fine shall be determined on the basis of a specific assessment of the case that is to be decided.
Section 19 Publicity of meetings
The proceedings of the Tribunal shall be public, unless this is prevented by provisions regarding the duty of secrecy.
The Tribunal’s chairperson may, subject to the approval of the Tribunal, provisionally decide that the proceedings in a case shall take place behind closed doors.
When a case is closed for deliberation and administrative decision, the proceedings of the Tribunal shall take place behind closed doors.
Section 20 Duty to vote. Voting
The members of the Tribunal are bound to express a view on the cases that are to be decided.
The Tribunal’s administrative decisions are made by an ordinary majority of votes. In the event of a parity of votes, the chairperson shall have the casting vote.
Section 21 Contents of the administrative decision. Grounds for the decision
The administrative decisions of the Tribunal shall include:
- the time and place of the proceedings.
- the persons present at the proceedings.
- If parties to the case, experts, the Ombud or other persons were present at and participated in the proceedings or made a statement or expressed an opinion, new arguments and new factual information shall also be included in the decision.
- a description of the case, the grounds for the decision, the administrative decision and the provisions on which the decision is based.
It shall be stated whether the decision is unanimous. In the event of dissenting votes, the decision shall show which of the Tribunal’s members disagreed with the decision and their grounds for so doing.
This shall apply correspondingly to opinions given by the Tribunal pursuant to section 10, second paragraph, of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act.
Administrative decisions and opinions shall be signed by the members of the Tribunal who participated in the proceedings.
Section 22 Notification of the Tribunal’s administrative decisions
The administrative decisions and opinions of the Tribunal shall be notified to the persons involved and the Ombud.
The Tribunal may decide that administrative decisions shall be served pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 9 of the Courts of Justice Act insofar as the latter are appropriate.
Together with notification, information shall be provided regarding the legal consequences that may result from failure to comply with the administrative decision. If a time limit has been set for implementation of an order pursuant to section 7 of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act, the information shall state that in the event of failure to implement the order the Tribunal may make an administrative decision to impose a coercive fine. The information shall also state that such a decision will be enforceable by execution, cf. section 7-2 (d) of the Execution of Sentences Act.
Furthermore, the information shall state that an administrative decision made by the Tribunal may not be reviewed by the King or the Ministry, and that the decision may be reviewed in full by the courts. It shall further state that legal action for a review of an administrative decision made by the Tribunal must be brought within three months of receipt of notification of the decision, cf. section 12 of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act.
The party whose rights were infringed shall also be informed that compensation or redress for breaches of such statutes as are specified in section 1, second paragraph, of the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act is conditional on a civil lawsuit being brought before the courts.
Part III Relationship to the Public Administration Act and commencement
Section 23 Relationship to the Public Administration Act
Unless it is otherwise provided in the Anti-Discrimination Ombud Act or these Regulations, the Public Administration Act shall apply to the activities of the Ombud and the Tribunal.
Section 24 Commencement
These Regulations shall come into force from 1 January 2006.