Protecting your rights

The effectiveness of action by the Defender of Rights is based on appropriate use of its powers. The diversity of its action results in personalised processing of cases: negotiated settlement, individual or general recommendations, observations made in court, etc.

While the institution has no power to impose sanctions, the strength of its work is based on the quality of its expertise and its impartial decisions.

120,000 requests to intervene are processed each year by the Defender of Rights

What can the Defender of Rights do?


The Defender of Rights has wide powers. Claims are investigated by sworn officers who collect and analyse evidence and then determine the course to be taken by the Defender of Rights.

Propose a negotiated settlement

To obtain a rapid and pragmatic solution while avoiding legal action, the Defender of Rights favours a negotiated settlement. This is in particular the preferred course, especially by delegates in claims challenging procedural errors, misunderstandings, administrative mistakes, etc.

Make recommendations

The Defender of Rights, acting as an expert, may make individual or general recommendations to request resolution of a problem or modification of the practices complained of.

Make observations in court

When legal action has been taken and no solution is in sight, the Defender of Rights may make observations to the court.

Request disciplinary action

The Defender of Rights may also apply to a disciplinary body with power to take proceedings against a defaulting officer or professional.

Make law reform proposals

The Defender of Rights has the power to put forward proposed amendments to laws or regulations. On its own initiative or at the request of MPs, it gives its opinion on draft or proposed laws within its area of competence in the light of its expertise