The French Club of Public Service Mediators

Categories: Contract Law
Typology: Articles
Tags: Mediation

The French Club of Public Service Mediators was created in 2002 and includes mediators from government, businesses, communities and institutions in charge of a public service: mediators of the French Federation of Finance Companies ; the Financial Markets Authority ; BNP Paribas for Retail Customers ; the Deposits and Consignments Fund Group ; Electronic Communications ; Water ; the Ministries of the Economy and Finance ; the EDF Group ; National Education and Higher Education ; the French Federation of Insurance Companies ; France 2 ; France 3 ; France Television Programmes ; ENGIE ; the Agricultural Mutual Insurance Fund ; Paris Habitat – OPH ; the National Employment Agency ; La Poste Group ; the RATP ; the SNCF ; Tourism and Travel ; and the City of Paris. The Club has developed professional training for mediators and their teams and enables them to share best practices, whilst informing the public about mediation. It also organises conferences. However, one of its key achievements was probably to draft a Mediator Charter, which members undertake to respect (despite their differences, e.g. in the timeframe or in the available languages).

The Charter — which defines mediation as a structured process by which persons or entities, assisted by a Mediator, voluntarily try to reach an amicable agreement with Club’s members regarding the resolution of disputes between them of an individual nature — states the values of a Mediator: respect for people, their opinions and positions; a desire to seek amicable solutions to disagreements; open, attentive and balanced listening of the parties; impartiality in terms of the parties and the institution with which the Mediator works; respect of the principle of an equal hearing for both sides; fairness: beyond the rule of applicable law, the specifi­c context of each case is considered; transparency: the Mediator has a duty to report on his role, the process followed and the results of his work; con­fidentiality: the Mediator has a duty to maintain the con­fidentiality of personal data and information received during the investigation of the dispute.

The Mediator ensures that the decision to use mediation is free and informed. The mediation process is free for applicants and available directly when internal remedies have been exhausted. The Mediator is bound by con­fidentiality regarding all information arising from mediation or relating thereto, including the fact that mediation takes place or took place, unless there is a legal obligation in the case of non-compliance with a rule of law, or with the parties’ consent. He may refuse to review a case if it is not admissible, for example given the existence of a legal action. The applicant is noti­fied of such refusal by the quickest route. When the request for mediation is admissible, the Mediator diligently conducts mediation, which is conducted inter partes. The parties must provide the Mediator with all of the information enabling him to investigate the dispute. Otherwise, after stating the information requested, and in the absence thereof, the Mediator may refuse to continue the mediation. Mediation may be interrupted at any time by the participants, who then inform the Mediator in writing, or by the Mediator if he considers that the conditions of mediation are no longer met. Mediation ends when the Mediator issues an opinion or recommendation constituting the foundation of the agreement between the litigants, or notes the emergence of an amicable solution under his authority.

(Altalex, 6 June 2016. Article by Emmanuel Guinchard)

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