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Public service litigation: what is mandatory mediation?

Verified 01 April 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Are you a National Education Officer or a Territorial Officer and are you planning to challenge a decision of your employer’s administration before the Administrative Court? In some cases, you must initiate mediation before going to the administrative tribunal.

Mediation is an approach that aims to enable you and your employer administration to reach an amicable agreement, with the help of a third-party mediator.

It's about settling a dispute and avoiding a procedure before the administrative tribunal.

For some categories of decisions, prior mediation is mandatory before proceeding to the Administrative Court.

Only if mediation fails can you go to the judge.

If you go to the administrative court without having completed the compulsory prior mediation procedure, the judge rejects your request and forwards it to the competent mediator.

Who are the agents involved?

You are affected by the mandatory pre-mediation procedure if you are in one of the following situations:

  • You are an official or contract worker of the National Education Department assigned to the Rectorate or Departmental Services (Desden), a nursery or elementary school, a college or a high school of one of the following academies:
    • Aix-Marseille
    • Bordeaux
    • Clermont-Ferrand
    • Lyon
    • Montpellier
    • Nantes
    • Nice
    • Normandy
    • Paris
    • Rennes
    • Versailles
  • You are an employee of a community or a public institution who has entered into an agreement with the management center to mediate


the management centers shall provide the administrative tribunals with a list of the communities which have concluded an agreement.

Which decisions are affected by compulsory prior mediation?

  • Unfavorable individual administrative decision relating to one of the elements of remuneration
  • Refusal of secondment or lay-off of an official
  • Denial of unpaid leave to contract worker to raise a child under 8 years of age, to care for a dependent child, his/her spouse, his/her partner Civil partnerships: titleContent, to a ascendant following an accident or serious illness or a disability requiring the presence of a third person
  • Denial of unpaid leave to a contractor to follow a Civil partnership or partner who is obliged to move for professional reasons
  • Refusal to grant unpaid leave for personal reasons to a contractor
  • Refusal to grant a contractor unpaid leave to set up or take over a company
  • Refusal to grant unpaid mobility leave to a contractor
  • Unfavorable individual administrative decision concerning the reinstatement of an official at the end of a secondment, availability or parental leave
  • Unfavorable individual administrative decision concerning the reinstatement of a contractual employee at the end of unpaid leave
  • Unfavorable individual administrative decision concerning the classification of an official following a promotion to grade or internal promotion
  • Unfavorable individual administrative decision on training
  • Unfavorable individual administrative decision on access to or retention in employment of a staff member with a disability
  • Unfavorable individual administrative decision concerning the preservation of equipment contributing to the adaptation of the workstation of a disabled staff member
  • Unfavorable individual administrative decision concerning the adjustment of working conditions with a view to the reclassification of an official recognized as unfit for the performance of his duties

In National Education, the compulsory prior mediation procedure is applicable to decisions taken from 1er April 2022.

In the territorial civil service, it shall apply from 1er day of the month following the conclusion of the agreement between your employer community or institution and the management center.

When an individual decision is subject, in case of dispute, to compulsory prior mediation, the administration must inform you at the notification of the decision.

Your employer's administration will inform you of the contact details of the competent mediator.

If your employer administration fails to comply with this obligation, the time limit for legal action does not apply and you can challenge the decision at any time.

If you are a National Education Officer, compulsory prior mediation is provided by the Academic Mediator.

Who shall I contact

If you are a territorial officer, mandatory pre-mediation is done by the management center. The chairman of the management center shall designate the natural person or persons who carry out the compulsory prior mediation.

You must contact the competent mediator by post within 2 months of the date of notification of the decision you are contesting.

Your letter must be accompanied by a copy of the contested decision.

Referral to the Ombudsman shall interrupt the time limit for bringing proceedings before the Administrative Court.

That period shall begin to run again from the date on which either you, your administration, or the two of you, or the mediator, state unequivocally and by any means that the mediation has ended.

The potential cost of mediation is fully covered by your employer's administration.

You, and your employer's administration, may be assisted before the Ombudsman by any person of your choice.

The mandatory mediation procedure ends with a negotiated agreement or disagreement.

If agreement is reached, the administration may withdraw the contested decision or take a new, more favorable decision.

If the discussions do not result in an agreement, you can challenge the decision before the administrative judge.