The Scandinavian countries are much admired all over the world for their enlightened social policies. Sweden has evolved an excellent system for protecting the individual citizen from high-handed or incompetent public officers. The system has worked so well, that it has been adopted in other countries like Denmark, Norway, Finland, and New Zealand. Even countries with large populations like Britain and the United States are seriously considering imitating the Swedes.
The Swedes were the first to recognize that public officials like civil servants, collectors can
make mistakes or act over-zealously in the belief that they are serving the public. As long ago as
1809, the Swedish Parliament introduced a scheme to safeguard the interest of the individual. A
parliamentary committee representing all political parties appoints a person who is suitably qualified to investigate private grievances against the State. The official title of the person is ‘Justite ombudsman’, but the Swedes commonly refer to him as the ‘J.O.’ or ‘Ombudsman’. The Ombudsman is not subject to political pressure. He investigates complaints large and small that come to him from all levels of society. As complaints must be made in writing, the Ombudsman
receives an average of 1200 letters a year. He has eight lawyer assistants to help him and he examines every single letter in detail. There is nothing secretive about the Ombudsman’s work, for his correspondence is open to public inspection. If a citizen’s complaint is justified, the Ombudsman will act on his behalf. The action he takes varies according to the nature of the complaint. He may gently reprimand an official or even suggest to parliament that a law be altered. The following case is a typical example of the Ombudsman’s work.
A foreigner living in a Swedish village wrote to the Ombudsman complaining that he had been ill-treated by the police, simply because he was a foreigner. The Ombudsman immediately wrote to the Chief of Police in the district asking him to send a record of the case. There was nothing in the record to show that the foreigner’s complaint was justified and the Chief of Police stoutly denied the accusation. It was impossible for the Ombudsman to take action, but when he
received a similar complaint from another foreigner in the same village, he immediately sent one of his lawyers to investigate the matter. The lawyer ascertained that a policeman had indeed dealt
roughly with foreigners on several occasions. The fact that the policeman was prejudiced against foreigners could not be recorded in he official files. It was only possible for the Ombudsman to find this out by sending one of his representatives to check the facts. The policeman in question was severely reprimanded and was informed that if any further complaints were lodged against him, he would be prosecuted. The Ombudsman’s prompt action at once put an end to an unpleasant practice which might have gone unnoticed.
斯堪的纳维亚半岛各国实行开明的社会政策，受到全世界的推崇。在瑞典，已逐渐形成了一种完善的 制度以保护每个公民不受专横的和不称职的政府官员的欺压。 由于这种制度行之有效， 已被其他国家采纳。
是瑞典人首先认识到政府工作人员如文职人员、警官、卫生稽查员、税务人员等等也会犯错误或者自 以为在为公众服务而把事情做过了头。早在 1809 年，瑞典论会就建立一个保护公民利益的制度。议会内 有一个代表各政党利益的委员会，由它委派一位称职的人选专门调查个人对国家的意见。此人官衔为“司 法特派员”，但瑞典人一般管他叫“ J.O. ”，即“司法特派员”。司法特派员不受任何政治压力的制约。 他听取社会各阶层的各种大小意见，并进行调查。由于意见均需用书面形式提出，司法特派员每年平均收
到 1,200 封信。他有 8 位律师作他的助手协助工作，每封信都详细批阅。司法特派员的工作没有什么秘密 可言，他的信件是公开的，供公众监督。如果公民的意见正确，司法特派员便为他伸张正义。司法特员采 取的行动因意见的性质不同而有所不同。他可以善意地批评某位官员，也可以甚至向议会提议修改某项法 律。下述事件是司法特派员工作的一个典型例子。
一个住在瑞典乡村的外国人写信给司法特派员， 抱怨说他受到警察的虐待， 原因就是因为他是个外国 人。司法特派员立即写信给当地警察局长，请他寄送与此事有关的材料。材料中没有任何文字记载证明外 国人所说的情况符合事实，警察局长矢口否认这一指控。司法特派员难以处理。但是，当他又收到住在同 一村庄的另一个外国人写的一封内容类似的投诉信时，他立即派出一位律师前去调查。律师证实有个警察 确实多次粗鲁地对待外国人。警察歧视外国人的事在官方档案中不可能加以记载，司法特派员只有派他的 代表去核对事实才能了解真相。当事的警察受到严厉的斥责，并被告知，如果再有人投诉他，他将受到起 诉。司法特派员及时采取的行动，迅速制止了这一起不愉快的事件，不然这件事可能因未得到人们注意而 不了了之。