What is the right to make a mistake in administration?

Verified 14 September 2023 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

If you've made a mistake in a declaration to the administration, on right to err allows you to regularize your mistake without risking a penalty (financial penalty or deprivation of a social benefit due).

For example: you receive the personalized autonomy allowance (Apa) and you forget to declare the change of your employee. The right to make mistakes allows you to avoid suspending your allowance.

All administrations are concerned.

Example :

Caf: titleContent, Pôle emploi, Health insurance, Urssaf: titleContent, Taxes

You must respect the 3 conditions following:

  • You ignore a rule or you make a mistake for 1era time
  • You regularize your situation on your own initiative or at the request of the administration in the specified time
  • You're from good faith. It is up to the administration to prove your bad faith or that you defraud.

No, the right to make mistakes does not apply in the following cases:

  • This is a gross or grossly negligent error. For example, a false statement.
  • The error cannot be corrected. For example, no or late reporting.
  • The penalty shall be provided for in European Union law
  • Public health, the environment, the safety of people or property are at stake
  • The penalty shall be provided for in a contract
  • There are obligations under an international convention that preclude that. For example, in the area of labor law.
  • There is a specific procedure for correcting errors made
  • The penalty is criminal and is not imposed by the administration

You must contact the administration concerned on your own initiative to regularize your situation.

Administration may also invite you to regularize your situation in a time limit which it shall set.

Example :

You forgot to tell Pôle emploi that you went back to work.

Contact Pôle emploi on your own initiative to update your situation.

This avoids the wrongful payment of allowances that you will have to pay back later.


You can consult the list of most common errors on-site Oups.gouv.fr.

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