The first paragraph of Article 159 of the Constitution of the Republic of Slovenia provides that an ombudsman for citizen’s rights shall be determined by law to protect human rights and fundamental freedoms in relation to state authorities, local self-government authorities and holders of public authority. The Ombudsman and their responsibilities and powers in the public sector were established by the Law on the Ombudsman (ZVarCP). The Ombudsman is a constitutional category and represents an informal form of protection of individuals’ rights in relation to the national authorities, local self-government authorities and holders of public authority.
Advocate of the Principle of Equality was established in 2016 by the Law on Protection against Discrimination (ZVarD) as a separate and independent authority. In accordance with the authorizations and responsibilities specified in ZVarD, their operation is (also) that of an authority. An independent authority for the equality principle is part of the harmonisation of the Slovenian legal system with European Union Acquis, which expects adequate promotion of equality and prevention of discrimination from Member States. The legal basis for the establishment of Advocate of the Principle of Equality can be found HERE.
The Advocate of the Principle of Equality provides protection against discrimination to every individual, as well as to legal persons, regardless of any personal circumstance in various areas of social life, in respecting the human rights and fundamental freedoms, enforcing rights and liabilities and in other legal relationships. Unlike the Ombudsman, the powers of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality range to both the field of public and private sector. An important part of his jurisdiction is to carry out independent studies, research, analyses, to publish independent reports as well as to write recommendations and exchange available information with relevant European authorities.
The Advocate of the Principle of Equality provides independent support to discriminated persons in exercising their rights with counselling and legal assistance in other administrative and judicial procedures associated with discrimination, performs certain tasks of inspection control in the field of protection against discrimination, and participates in judicial proceedings due to discrimination by representing or accompanying them during legal proceedings, etc. The Advocate of the Principle of Equality may request a review of constitutionality and legality of regulations and general acts.
The Ombudsman does not have direct responsibilities for authoritative actions, but works in an informal way and derives its authority from their reputation and position in society and thus also contributes to the development and improvement of legal and administrative culture in relations between authorities and individuals. His actions are directed in oversight of authorities and are also expressed in measures directed against those authorities. The Ombudsman shall endeavour to settle matters amicably with a settlement, accept opinions concerning matters discussed, and decisions/final reports on subject matters containing a judgement about a violation of human rights or fundamental freedoms, or other irregularity. In their opinion, the Ombudsman also proposes a way on how to eliminate the violations. Their decisions are communicated both to respective authorities and the general public. The Ombudsman may request a review of constitutionality and legality of regulations and general acts issued for the exercise of public powers and constitutional complaint concerning an individual matter in question.