Rights of users of public services

Defending the rights of public service users

Individuals are received and assisted by public services throughout their lives. But sometimes the complexity and lack of clarity surrounding procedures are such that public service users are prevented from benefiting fully from their rights.

In light of the difficulties that a user might encounter when dealing with an administration or public service, the Defender of Rights helps people to defend their rights more effectively and guides them in their formalities, particularly through its delegates.

The Defender of Rights takes action to defend users’ fundamental rights when the steps they have previously taken to exercise their rights or appeal a decision have not been successful.

Think your rights haven’t been respected?
Get in touch with the Defender of rights for free.

Via freepost, so no need for a stamp:

Défenseur des droits
Libre réponse 71120
75342 Paris CEDEX 07

The role of the defenDer of rights

Who can file a claim?

  • a person who has difficulties with an administration or a public service
  • his "rightful claimants" (wife or husband, children, parents...)
  • an association or company[1]
  • a fren parlamentarian or a french member of the European parliament
  • a foreing institution that has the same functions as the Defender of rights

The Defender of rights can seize himself when he considers that his intervention is necessary.

Which public services are concerned?

  • State departments: ministries, prefectures, regional or département-level directorates, local education authorities, regional health agencies, schools, etc.;
  • Local authority departments: town/city halls, département-level councils, regional councils, local public services, etc.;
  • Private organisations fulfilling a public service mission: family benefits funds (CAFs), primary health insurance funds (CPAMs), Pôle emploi (national employment service), Self-employed health & welfare service (RSI), National Old-Age Insurance Fund (CNAV), etc.;
  • Other public services: public institutions, health facilities, département-level centres for disabled people (MDPH), energy providers (Engie, GRDF, ENEDIS, etc.) and water companies, public transport operators (SNCF, RATP, etc.) for non-commercial aspects.

Be careful

The Defender of rights has no jurisdiction over commercial cases and litigations between public services.

If your problem concerns the execution of a contract with a public company (price, quantity, invoicing, cancellation ...), then it is a private dispute of a commercial nature and it is advisable to address to the concerned Mediator.
Consult the list of mediators referenced by the Commission for Evaluation and Control of Consumer Mediation, on the website of the Ministry of Economy.
Learn more at the Public Service Mediators Club website.




Think your rights haven’t been respected? Get in touch with the Defender of Rights for free.