Mediation basics




Jean-Pierre Hervé, Ombudsman for the ENGIE Group

My objective: to help you, with my dedicated team, to find a solution to the dispute that opposes you to one of Groupe ENGIE's services. We will strive to resolve your dispute, free of charge, in complete independence, impartiality, neutrality, in law and equity. I commit to having a single contact person at your disposal throughout the mediation process presented on this site.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a structured process by which parties attempt to come to an agreement in order to settle a dispute amicably and with the assistance of an independent third party, the ombudsman.

And what is ENGIE group Mediation?

Set up in 1999, the Ombudsman for the ENGIE Group primarily aims to settle, entirely independently and impartially, disputes with people and organizations affected by Group activities, whether or not they are clients. It offers an amicable settlement procedure before an independent third party to those dissatisfied with the responses received to their complaints. The Ombudsman for the ENGIE group is therefore an alternative to litigation - not an alternative to complaints handling by the company.

What does independent mediation mean for the ENGIE group?

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Mediation is a structured process by which parties attempt to come to an agreement in order to settle a dispute amicably and with the assistance of an independent third party, the ombudsman.

Within the ENGIE group the main aim of mediation is to settle disputes with companies and organizations that have a dispute with any member of the ENGIE group and to do so independently, impartially and fairly.

It gives parties a final opportunity for an amicable resolution before possibly moving on to litigation. Within the ENGIE group, mediation is free to the companies that request it.

What is the ethical framework for mediation involving the ENGIE group?

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Thanks to his State-accredited status for consumer clients, the ombudsman is independent of the ENGIE group. Companies requesting his services therefore benefit from this independence, free of charge. It should not be forgotten that for the ENGIE group mediation is an alternative to litigation but not to the handling of complaints. Before requesting mediation for the ENGIE group, the company requesting the mediation must therefore have already filed a complaint with the relevant entity in the ENGIE group and must not have received a satisfactory response to that complaint after 2 months.


The ENGIE group has also long been promoting mediation on various markets, such as B2B, and between suppliers and ENGIE. Mediation can produce a quick, amicable settlement (under 2 months) in most cases (compared with lengthy court procedures) and win-win outcomes. 


The amicable dispute settlement service offered to companies is also open to all professional organizations (institutions, administrations, associations and other organizations) that have, and can prove they have, contracts with the ENGIE group. 

What are the advantages of B2B mediation for ENGIE group entities and their partners?

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Mediation is an alternative to litigation that offers parties the opportunity for amicable, effective and fast dispute resolution, flexibility (ex aequo, unlike courts) and confidentiality (not possible in open court proceedings).

  • Mediation is a benefit offered by the ENGIE group for dealing with disputes better: it is an excellent way of avoiding cost (legal expenses, sudden contract terminations etc.), of maintaining the corporate image and of maintaining balanced commercial relations with partners the Group sometimes needs.
  • Mediation is an amicable settlement method permitted under the ENGIE group's general terms of trade. It can be used even if it has not been written into your contracts. It is one of the ENGIE group's turnkey services.
  • Mediation has also signed an agreement with the Bercy company ombudsman that, as a partnership between independent ombudsmen, makes mediation even more effective and increases your ability to call on ombudsman services.
  • The features of mediation make it a preferred option because:
    • Mediation is independent: approved by a State committee that is itself independent, the ombudsman and his team are financed by just one company (ENGIE). In cases like this, the law ensures the ombudsman's independence (fixed-term mandate, cannot work for ENGIE at the end of his mandate, no line or staff reporting to ENGIE entities, remuneration does not depend on mediation outcomes, dedicated mediation team). And his independence can be seen during the mediation itself;
    • Mediation is fair and impartial: the ombudsman does not know the subject of the mediation, he is not involved and is not biased towards either party;
    • Mediation is free to all involved: the ENGIE group ombudsman does not bill for his services;
    • Mediation is confidential: all the parties and the ombudsman himself sign a confidentiality agreement;
    • Parties are free: they can walk out of the mediation at any time. Solutions must be, and are, proposed only by the parties, not the ombudsman. Each party is free to accept or reject the proposals made by the parties during the procedure. Mediation is not arbitration: the solution is only what the parties themselves decide and agree. Unlike arbiters, ombudsmen do not make decisions. 

Main and priority duties of the company ombudsman in disputes between companies

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In the field of inter-company mediation, the ENGIE group ombudsman has the authority to act, entirely independently, in disputes between Group entities and the companies, suppliers, providers and partners (communities, institutions, administrations) that are their clients.


The ENGIE group ombudsman is an accredited professional with a professional qualification in mediation from CNAM. His senior team has also been trained in mediation.


In disputes between a company (or community) and ENGIE, the applicant must instruct the ombudsman and obtain the ombudsman's clear agreement to act. Mediation must be freely accepted by each party, which must declare that it wishes to find a solution to the dispute. Ombudsmen cannot appoint themselves to mediate in disputes.


The ombudsman can be instructed online by contacting:


Mediation between a company and an ENGIE group entity

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When each party has agreed to mediation, the ombudsman will then proceed with the following mediation process:

  • Organization of an initial meeting: the parties must each appoint a representative with authority to decide on the resolution of the dispute.
  • Mediation starts with a summary of the principles of mediation, followed by a presentation of the mediation procedure.
  • The parties sign a confidentiality agreement that is then given to the ombudsman. The ombudsman also signs a confidentiality agreement and gives it to the parties.
  • The parties share and approve the mediation values needed to ensure a smooth mediation process.
  • Each party can also be accompanied by one or more experts (lawyer etc.) but only the designated manager (job leader) will have the right to speak. Accompanying experts can ask the ombudsman for permission to speak.
  • The parties undertake to try and come to an agreement. The only duty is therefore a duty to use best endeavors.
  • Mediation is free. The ENGIE group ombudsman does not bill for his work.
  • During the mediation each party can ask for the meeting to be suspended. This is a caucus, i.e. a private meeting that interrupts the mediation process and involves just one of the parties, which may be formed of several people who must come to an agreement. The party requesting the caucus can ask the ombudsman to attend the discussion. The ombudsman too can trigger a caucus with one of the parties in order to clarify a position, reset the rules or investigate a request through discussion that cannot involve the other party until a calmer or clearer position has been adopted.
  • The parties are free to stop the mediation at any time. The ombudsman can also stop it if the rules of good conduct or values are not respected.
  • The purpose of mediation is to try and find a solution to the dispute. The solution must be decided and accepted by both parties.
  • After recalling the rules and the procedure, the ombudsman then asks each party to give its own version of the facts, including its complaints. Each party writes its version on a flip chart.
  • The ombudsman next questions each party about its own view/interpretation of the facts as described by the other party. He is inviting them to see the matter from the other party's perspective.
  • He then asks each party to state its expectations, and where possible to offer a solution that includes a view of how future relations might look. 
  • Several meetings may be needed before an agreement is reached.
  • Where agreement is reached, the parties are asked to state it in a written document (drafted by the parties themselves) that sets out their shared solution.

Mediation values, principles and obligations

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Mediation is an independent body that has no line or staff reporting relationship with the Group and has its own budget. 


Mediation is free of charge to the parties concerned: the ombudsman does not bill for his work in settling disputes. He has his own operating budget and answers to no-one for its use. 


Mediation is confidential, from initial contact to procedure and right up to the conclusions that lead to resolution.


The ombudsman and his team carry out their work with diligence, skill and total impartiality through a transparent, efficient and fair procedure. They receive continuous professional training.


The parties are free to decide whether to accept mediation and can continue or stop the process at any time. In company mediation, which is face to face after initial preparatory telephone contact, it is the parties themselves that work towards, and find, a solution with the help of the ombudsman. 


Mediation is based on 8 values and principles:

  • listening
  • total respect for each other
  • a desire to come to an amicable solution
  • fairness
  • impartiality
  • hearing both sides of the question
  • confidentiality
  • transparency
8 mediation's values

Ombudsman's scope of action

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The ENGIE group ombudsman operates directly within France and is the contact for Group entities in other countries that have ombudsman services, especially in Europe, with the aim of resolving disputes amicably in all fields.


All requests received by the ENGIE group ombudsman are checked to ensure they are admissible.


Where requests do not concern disputes in France but do directly concern one of the countries in which the Group has a presence, Mediation will contact the Group's country manager to ask him to take action towards the amicable settlement of the dispute. Mediation can if necessary take direct action to support subsidiaries in dispute resolution. Mediation support involves ensuring the subsidiary concerned is able to offer a suitable local organizational response (mediation contact, mediator etc.).


The ombudsman's scope of action covers all the businesses of the Group and its subsidiaries, e.g. sale and distribution of all forms of marketed energy, including alternative energies (solar, wind, self-supply, etc.), and the sale and management of services, including energy efficiency services.