The main purpose of this study is to determine the extent to which, through the performance of (indirect) normative functions and the application of principles of good governance as assessment standards, the ombudsman institution can contribute to improving the legal quality of the government while enhancing the legitimacy of the administration and the democratic system as a whole.
The study is conducted from a comparative perspective, exploring the performance of the Dutch, UK, Spanish and Peruvian Ombudsmen. They are analysed with the aim to determine how far these ombudsmen, although of different types and belonging to different legal traditions, share the same values and apply similar normative standards that can be traced back to principles of good governance. The Peruvian ombudsman is examined as a case study of the institutions evolving role in new democracies in Latin America. This reflects the wider process of the ombudsmans hybridisation worldwide, and how its functions and assessment standards have been adapted to the evolution of the constitutional state, not least through application of the principles of good governance, which operate at the constitutional level, as a new source of legitimacy.