Critical stance

October 13, 2000

The European ombudsman, when he finds maladministration, can rebuke an authority only with a "critical remark". ("Dons claim win in EC case", THES,September 29).

The ombudsman upheld our complaint saying that "a person should have a right to submit comments before a decision affecting his or her interests is taken". He adds: "The commission fundamentally altered the basis on which it was dealing with the complainant's case."

The ombudsman does not speculate on what would have happened if we had not been denied an opportunity to submit comments. There is nothing to support the view that "the ombudsman appears to consider the omission to be a formal one... rather than one that would have significantly altered the course of events".

David Petrie

Chairman, Association of Foreign Lecturers in Italy

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