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The Mediation

Find out exactly what happens to your mediation request, step by step.

The mediation process

There is no charge for the mediation proceeding, but you are responsible for postage and for any legal fees you incur if you engage an attorney. The proceeding is confidential, and the Ombudsman is bound by professional secrecy.

  • Step 1: confirm that your request meets the admissibility requirements for mediation
  • Step 2: submit your mediation request to the Ombudsman
  • Step 3: the Ombudsman receives all of the documents he will need to handle the dispute and notifies the parties accordingly. This notification, made via e-mail or postal mail, marks the beginning of the proceeding.
  • Step 4: the Ombudsman examines the case:
    - in commercial disputes, the deadline for responding is 90 days after the date of the notification to the parties in Step 3, but if the dispute is complex, the Ombudsman may extend this deadline with notice to the parties.
    - for fines issued by SNCF’s railway police, the Ombudsman must issue an opinion before the fine is referred to the public prosecutor.
    - You may withdraw from the proceeding at any time
    - if the Ombudsman does not have jurisdiction over your dispute, he will notify you accordingly within three weeks
  • Step 5: the Ombudsman bases his opinions on legal principles and fairness. He will send you his opinion via postal mail or e-mail, depending on how you submitted your request for mediation. Opinions are issued in French or English:
    - in commercial disputes, the opinion serves as a recommendation. The parties are free to accept or reject it within 14 calendar days from the date on the Ombudsman’s opinion. After that 14-day period, the parties are considered to have accepted the opinion. If either party refuses, the opinion will not take effect.
    - in cases related to fines (SNCF Mobilités), the opinion serves as a recommendation. If the Ombudsman recommends reducing the fine and both parties agree, the fine follows the normal procedure, and you must pay the fine. If you reject the Ombudsman’s opinion and do not pay the fine, the fine will be referred to the public prosecutor’s office, and the amount will increase.
    In either case, the Ombudsman’s opinion is final.

You still have the option of asserting your rights in any court of competent jurisdiction, but the Ombudsman’s opinion and the evidence used in mediation will have no weight.

The Ombudsman’s

The SNCF Mobilités Ombudsman and his team respond to several thousand requests each year, seeking amicable solutions.

The Ombudsman carries out his mission with complete impartiality and therefore operates on an independent budget.

His conduct is guided by the French Consumer Code’s provisions on mediation and by the mediation protocol signed on 5 February 2016.

Download the protocol