Filing a complaint concerning the conduct of an authority or public official

Complaints concerning the unlawful, incorrect or inappropriate conduct of an environmental administration authority or public official may be filed with the supreme overseers of legality, i.e. the Parliamentary Ombudsman or the Chancellor of Justice. A complaint may also be filed against neglect of duties.

The Ministry of the Environment may also process complaints concerning the authorities in its administrative branch. However, the Ministry’s competence does not extend to the activities of municipalities, which is why complaints concerning these are investigated by the supreme overseers of legality and, pursuant to the Local Government Act, by the Regional State Administrative Agency.

A complaint cannot be used to request for a review of a decision by an authority or to appeal against a court decision

A complaint is not the procedure to be used to request for a review or to appeal, nor will any compensations be paid on the basis of an appeal. In addition, a decision issued on a complaint cannot revoke or amend a decision by an authority or court of law, including those concerning environmental permits.

A complaint is a way of informing the supervisory authority of the perceived defect. Based on the complaint, the supervisory authority may, for example, issue a reprimand to the authority for incorrect conduct.

A complaint concerning a matter that occurred more than two years earlier will not be investigated, unless there is a special reason for this. A matter that is being processed by a court of law or a similar authority will also not be investigated.

A decision issued on a complaint is not subject to review or appeal.

Filing a complaint with the Ministry of the Environment

Complaints can be written in free form, but at least the following information must be included:

  • contact details of the complainant
  • party whom the complaint concerns (an authority or public official within the administrative branch of the Ministry of the Environment)
  • time of the incidence concerned in the complaint
  • grounds for the complaint (i.e. what has happened, how the law has not been complied with or obligations have not been fulfilled)
  • information on whether investigations have been instituted elsewhere.

The complaint and its attachments can be submitted to the Registry of the Ministry of the Environment either by email ([email protected]) or by post (PO Box 35, FI-00023 Government). Any information that is to be kept secret should be sent to the Registry by using the secure email system.

The processing time of a complaint depends on the nature and scope of the matter. If possible, complaints should be processed within a year from the date when the matter was initiated.

More information

Maija Seppälä, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of the Environment, Ministerial Governance and International Affairs Department, Human Resources and Guidance Telephone:0295250017   Email Address: