Ombudsman of the French Republic: Appointment & Scope of the Office

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  • 0:02 Ombudsman of France
  • 0:33 Definition
  • 1:29 The French Mediator
  • 3:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Sailus

Chris has an M.A. in history and taught university and high school history.

In this lesson we explore the position of ombudsman in France, fulfilled in the French government by the Mediator of the Republic, created by the French government in 1973.

Ombudsman of France

When you are having an argument with a friend or colleague, sometimes it's easier to bring in a third person to hear both sides. Without an interest in the argument, they can judge both sides equally and make an impartial decision. This applies not just to debates between friends, but to disagreements and issues in larger organizations as well, whether it's companies, clubs, or even governments. In France, the role of ombudsman to the French government is played by the Mediator of the French Republic.


Before we talk about the position in the French government, we should probably establish exactly what an ombudsman is. In most organizations or governments, the ombudsman is charged with viewing his/her organization with a critical eye. They are often required to analyze the company or government's actions and issue statements from time to time, passing ethical and legal judgment on the organization.

Furthermore, ombudsmen, especially those attached to national, state, or local governments, are required to investigate and mediate complaints leveled against the company by private citizens, employees, or other organizations. Depending on the organization or government, ombudsmen sometimes possess a restricted amount of power to sanction parts of the organization. This power, however, is usually not included, and ombudsmen usually refer any criminal findings to authorities better prepared to act on the information gathered by the ombudsman.

Ombudsman of France

In the French government, the role of ombudsman is played by the Mediator of the French Republic. This office was created in 1973 by the French government. The mediator is charged with receiving and dealing with all complaints leveled at French governmental departments, officials, or offices. The mediator, though an organ of the French government, is considered completely independent of any other government department. In essence, the mediator answers to no one. As such, he or she is immune from prosecution or denunciation for any of his/her actions or public statements regarding the government and its failings.

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