LAW ON THE OMBUDSMAN
Promulgated in State Gazette No.
48 of May 23, 2003, in force since January 1, 2004
Chapter One: General Provisions
Chapter Two: Taking the Office. Legal Status
Chapter Three: Powers
Chapter Four: Submission of Complaints and Signals
Chapter Five: Administrative
Transitional and Concluding Provisions
Art. 1. This law shall regulate the legal status, organization
and activities of the Ombudsman.
Art. 2. The Ombudsman shall intervene by the means, envisaged
in this law, when citizens' rights and freedoms have been violated
by actions or omissions of the state and municipal authorities and
their administrations as well as by the persons assigned with the
provision of public services.
Art. 3. (1) The Ombudsman shall be independent in his/her
activities and shall obey only to the Constitution, the laws, and
the ratified international treaties to which the Republic of Bulgaria
is a party. He/she shall be guided by his/her personal conscience
(2) The Ombudsman shall perform his/her activities based on rules
on the organization and activities of the institution. The rules
shall be elaborated by the Ombudsman, shall be approved by a decision
of the National Assembly and shall be promulgated in the State Gazette.
Art. 4. The activities of the Ombudsman shall be public.
Art. 5. The Ombudsman shall be assisted in his/her activities
by a Deputy Ombudsman.
Art. 6. The state and municipal authorities and their administrations,
the legal persons and citizens shall be obliged to provide the Ombudsman
with information, entrusted to them officially, and to provide assistance
to the Ombudsman in relation with the complaints and signals sent
Art. 7. The activities of the Ombudsman and his/her administration
shall be financed by the State Budget and/or by other public sources.
The Ombudsman shall be first-rate administrator of budgetary credits.
TAKING THE OFFICE. LEGAL STATUS
Art. 8. The Ombudsman shall be elected by the National Assembly
for a term of five years and may be re-elected for the same office
Art. 9. Shall be elected Ombudsman a Bulgarian citizen, possessing
university degree, revealing high integrity and meeting the requirements
for the election of Member of Parliament.
Art. 10. (1) The Members of Parliament and the Parliamentary
Groups may submit proposals for election of Ombudsman.
(2) The National Assembly shall elect the Ombudsman by secret voting.
The candidate, who has received more than a half of the votes of
the Members of Parliament participating in the voting, shall be
(3) If none of the candidates has received the required majority
at the first voting, a second voting shall take place, in which
only the two candidates, who has received the greatest number of
votes shall participate. The candidate, who has received more than
half of the votes of the Members of Parliament participating in
the second voting, shall be considered elected.
Art. 11. (1) The Deputy Ombudsman shall be elected by the
National Assembly within one month following the election of the
Ombudsman upon proposal by the Ombudsman and for the term under
(2) The Deputy Ombudsman shall meet the election criteria under
Art. 12. The Ombudsman shall take office after taking the
following oath before the National Assembly: "I swear in the name
of the Republic of Bulgaria to observe the Constitution and the
laws of the country and to protect the human rights and fundamental
freedoms by exercising conscientiously and impartially my powers".
Art. 13. The election of a new Ombudsman shall take place
at least two months before the expiry of the term of office of the
active Ombudsman. The Ombudsman shall continue to carry out his/her
duties until the newly elected Ombudsman takes office.
Art. 14. The office of the Ombudsman and the Deputy Ombudsman
shall be incompatible with any other state office, managerial position
in commercial company or not-for-profit legal person, as well as
with membership in political party or trade union. The Ombudsman
and the Deputy Ombudsman may not perform commercial activities.
Art. 15. (1) The powers of the Ombudsman and the Deputy Ombudsman
shall be terminated by the National Assembly before the expiry of
their term of office in case of:
1. establishment of incompatibility or ineligibility;
2. inability to carry out his/her powers for more than six months;
3. entry in force of a sentence for intentional crime;
4. failure to carry out his/her duties and violation of the Constitution
and the laws of the country or the commonly accepted ethical rules;
(2) The decision for termination of the powers of the Ombudsman
or the Deputy Ombudsman before the expiry of their term of office
on the grounds of paragraph (1), items 1, 2 and 4 shall be adopted
by the National Assembly upon request by at least one-fifth of the
Members of Parliament; the grounds under paragraph (1) items 3,
5 and 6 shall be announced before the National Assembly by the Chair
of the National Assembly.
(3) Apart from the grounds under paragraph (1), the Deputy Ombudsman
shall be dismissed by the National Assembly upon a justified proposal
by the Ombudsman.
(4) The Ombudsman and the Deputy Ombudsman shall have the right
to speak before the National Assembly in the cases under paragraph
(1), items 1, 2, 4 and 5; the Deputy Ombudsman shall have the same
right in the case under paragraph (3) as well.
Art. 16. (1) The Ombudsman shall enjoy the same immunity
as a Member of Parliament.
(2) The immunity of the Ombudsman may be removed under the terms
and through the procedure, envisaged for the Members of Parliament.
Art. 17. (1) In cases of termination of the mandate of the
Ombudsman before the expiry of his/her term of office, the new Ombudsman
shall be elected within one month following the entry into force
of the decision for termination under article 15, paragraph (1),
items 1, 2 or 4, or following the announcement under article 15,
paragraph (1), items 3, 5 or 6.
(2) In cases of termination of the powers of the Ombudsman before
the expiry of his/her term of office, the Deputy Ombudsman shall
take the office until the election of a new Ombudsman.
Art. 18. (1) The Ombudsman shall receive remuneration in
the amount of three average month salaries of the civil servants
and the employees in the public sector, according to the data of
the National Statistical Institute.
(2) The remuneration of the Deputy Ombudsman shall be 80% of the
remuneration of the Ombudsman.
(3) The Ombudsman and the Deputy Ombudsman may not receive other
remuneration under as employee or civil servant.
Art. 19. (1) The Ombudsman shall:
1. receive and consider complaints and signals regarding violations
of rights and freedoms by the state and municipal authorities and
their administrations as well as by persons assigned with the provision
of public services;
2. make examinations upon the complaints and signals received;
3. reply in writing to the person, who has lodged the complaint
or signal, within one month; if the case requires a more thorough
examination, this term shall be three months;
4. make proposals and recommendations for reinstatement of the violated
rights and freedoms before the respective authorities, their administrations,
and persons under item 1;
5. mediate between the administrative authorities and the persons
concerned for overcoming the violations admitted and shall reconcile
6. make proposals and recommendations for eliminating the reasons
and conditions, which create prerequisites for violation of rights
7. notify the authorities, listed under article 150 of the Constitution,
for approaching the Constitutional Court, when he/she is of the
opinion that it is necessary the Constitution to be interpreted
or a law to be declared unconstitutional;
8. notify the Public Prosecution Office when data exists that a
crime, prosecuted on indictment, has been committed.
(2) The Ombudsman may act on his/her own initiative as well when
he/she has established that the necessary conditions for protecting
citizens' rights and freedoms have not been created.
(3) The Ombudsman may assign some of his/her powers to the Deputy
Art. 20. (1) The Ombudsman shall have the right:
1. of access to the authorities, their administrations and the persons
under article 2, including the right to be present when they discuss
and make decisions;
2. to request and receive timely, accurate and comprehensive information
from the authorities, their administrations and persons under article
3. to publicly express opinions and statements, including in the
(2) The Ombudsman shall not have the right to disclose any circumstances
that he/she has become aware of while performing his/her functions,
which are state, official or commercial secret or are of personal
Art. 21. The Ombudsman shall maintain a public register on
the received oral and written complaints and signals and their movement.
Art. 22. (1) The Ombudsman shall submit an annual report
on his/her activities to the National Assembly by March 31 every
(2) The report shall contain information on:
1. the complaints and signals received, the examinations on which
have been completed;
2. the cases when his/her intervention has led to a certain result;
3. the cases when his/her intervention has had no consequences and
the reasons thereof;
4. the proposals and recommendations made and whether these have
been taken into consideration;
5. the respect for the human rights and fundamental freedoms and
the efficiency of the legislation in force in this area;
6. a report on the expenditures;
7. a summary.
(3) The report under paragraph (1) shall be public.
(4) The Ombudsman shall prepare reports on particular cases upon
request by the National Assembly or upon his/her own initiative.
Art. 23. The Ombudsman shall publish an annual bulletin on
SUBMISSION OF COMPLAINTS AND SIGNALS
Art. 24. Complaints and signals to the Ombudsman may be submitted
by natural persons, irrespective of their citizenship, gender, political
affiliation or religious beliefs.
Art. 25. (1) Complaints and signals may be written or oral,
submitted personally, by post or by other traditional means of communication.
(2) The complaint must contain the name and permanent address of
the sender, description of the violation, the authority, administration,
or person against whom the complaint is lodged. Written evidence
may also be enclosed to the complaint.
(3) Anonymous complaints and signals and complaints for violations
committed before more than two years shall not be considered.
(4) For oral complaints a protocol shall be drawn up, containing
the information required under paragraph (2).
Art. 26. The submission of complaints before the Ombudsman
shall be free of charge.
Art. 27. The complaints and signals received shall be entered
into the register under article 21. The measures undertaken on each
case and the results thereof shall also be entered into the register.
Art. 28. The authorities and the persons under article 2,
to whom the opinions, proposals and recommendations have been addressed,
shall be obliged to consider them within fourteen days and to notify
the Ombudsman on the measures undertaken.
ADMINISTRATIVE PENAL PROVISIONS
Art. 29. Any person who hinders the Ombudsman to perform
his/her official duties shall be punished by a fine of up to 600
BGN, if he/she is not liable to a more severe penalty.
Art. 30. Any person who fails to submit data, documents or
certificates, demanded by the Ombudsman, in the term, specified
by him/her, shall be punished by a fine of up to 500 BGN, if he/she
is not liable to a more severe penalty.
Art. 31. Any person who fails to perform another obligation,
specified by this law or the relevant secondary legislation on its
implementation, shall be punished by a fine of up to 300 BGN, if
he/she is not liable to a more severe penalty.
Art. 32. The administrative penalty for the violations under
articles 29-31 shall be imposed by the respective regional court.
The statement of establishment of the administrative violation shall
be drawn up by an official, determined by the Ombudsman, and shall
be sent to the respective regional court.
Art. 33. The court shall notify the person, whose punishment
has been demanded, of the materials received under article 32, and
shall specify the term for this person to get acquainted with them,
to make objections and to indicate evidence in their support. The
term may not be shorter than one month.
Art. 34. (1) After the expiry of the term under article 33
an open hearing shall be appointed.
(2) The Ombudsman may participate in the court proceedings if he/she
finds it necessary.
Art. 35. (1) The regional court shall hear the case upon
its merits and shall pronounce a decision for imposing the administrative
penalty specified in this law or for discharging the person whose
punishment has been demanded.
(2) The decision shall be subject to cassation appeal before the
district court under the procedure of the Law on the Supreme Administrative
Court. The Ombudsman may also appeal the decision.
Art. 36. Unless otherwise provided in this law the Law on
Administrative Violations and Penalties shall be applied.
§ 1. Within the meaning of this law:
1. "public services" are educational, healthcare and social activities,
activities related to water, heat and electricity supply, postal
and telecommunications activities, commercial activities, activities
related to security and transport safety as well as other similar
services, provided for satisfying public needs and in relation to
which administrative services may be performed;
2. "traditional means of communication" are letters, telephone,
telegraph, telex, fax and e-mail.
TRANSITIONAL AND CONCLUDING
§ 2. The National Assembly shall elect the Ombudsman within
three months following the entry into force of this law.
§ 3. The Ombudsman shall submit to the National Assembly
for approval the rules on the organization and activity of the institution
within one month after taking the office.
§ 4. The law shall enter into force on January 1, 2004.
The law was adopted by the 39th National Assembly on May 8, 2003,
and was sealed with the official seal of the National Assembly.