Sociology of human rights and the ombudsman

Struttura insegnamento e programma

Edizione attiva
This course inaugurates one the first Italian university tenures on the Ombudsman and will promote an activity of exchange with the other European universities which hold similar courses. It would also allow to create a privileged connection with the EOI (European Ombudsman Institute) and the IOI (International Ombudsman Institute), which works for the diffusion of the Ombudsman at an international level.
Furthermore, being Prof. Quiroz Vitale the outgoing Ombudsman of the Provincia di Milano, he will try to obtain the accreditation of our university as research centre on the Ombudsman both at a European and international level, which would in consequence attract students from other universities.
This year, the focus of the course is centered on the Ombudsman's role in the defense of individual human rights.

Course Subject

The institution of the Ombudsman is based on the idea that citizens should be entitled to complain against specific acts and behaviors of their rulers and that their complaints should be investigated by an independent body. In Europe, the establishment of a specific office to investigate citizen complaints against public bureaucracy is relatively recent, having started in Sweden in the early nineteenth century. The UE, too, instituted an Ombudsman in 1993: together with the Court of Justice it is part of a concretely more transparent network of government for the European citizens. Lastly, with regard to the European Council, 45 of the 47 member States have created national and regional figures of ombudsman. The general purpose of the Course is to explain how the Ombudsman, in a new global era, take a part in the defiance of human rights. Thanks to a socio-legal method of analysis we reflect upon the social function of the Ombudsman in Europe and its legal structure.
The first step of the analysis is the comparison of various ombudsman-institutions all over the world. This study intends to investigate the structure of Ombudsman institutions by comparing the legal bases of the different institutions (constitutional embodiment or simple act of Parliament); their organization (independence, relation with the parliament, requirements for qualification, number of incumbents, appointment, term of Office and conditions for removal from it, incompatibility, immunity, remuneration, budget and staff) and the national, regional or municipal level of action.
The second step of the analysis is to illustrate the functions of Ombudsman institutions in their political, economical and cultural context. In fact, Ombudsmen came to be seen as useful in helping to meet the problem of expanding bureaucracy in the modern welfare state and to improve human rights. In particular, the increase in the powers of discretion given to European governments led to a need of protection against administrative and police arbitrariness.
During the Course different definitions of "Human rights" will be illustrated and compared and any student should defend his/her opinions and discuss this matter.
Materiale didattico e bibliografia
M.A. Quiroz Vitale (ed.) The Ombudsman and Bureaucracy. Law, Discretion and Control, Mimesis, Milano 2010;

M.A. Quiroz Vitale, The ombudsman and the protection of human rights in Europe. Case study of Italian "Civic Defender", U.S.-China Law Review, vol. 11 n. 8, 2014;
Primo semestre
Primo semestre
Modalità di valutazione
Giudizio di valutazione
voto verbalizzato in trentesimi
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