Deontology, mediation and scientific integrity

In 2022, La Rochelle Université created the functions of deontologist, mediator and scientific integrity referent. The persons in charge of these functions are appointed for a period of three years and report to the President of the University.

The deontologist advisor at the univerty

Deontology, mediation and scientific integrity

Thierry Poulain-Rehm, University Professor and Honorary Dean of the Faculty of Law, Political Science and Management

Role and missions

The role of the deontologist advisor is to advise both the governance and bodies of the institution, and the staff of the University who consult him on the respect of ethical obligations and principles applicable to civil servants:

  • Principles of dignity, impartiality, integrity, probity, neutrality, secularity
  • Combating conflicts of interest
  • Hierarchical obedience, discretion and professional secrets
  • Principle of the prohibition of multiple activities
  • Declarations of interest or financial situation for staff members appointed to a post where the hierarchical level or the nature of the duties justify it
  • Obligation for staff members with economic or financial responsibilities whose hierarchical level or nature of duties justify it, to take all measures to ensure that their financial instruments are managed in conditions that exclude any right of inspection on their part.

The deontologist advisor has a role of prevention, training and vigilance for the entire university community. He or she receives requests for information on ethical issues and provides expertise on the application of ethical obligations and principles in the day-to-day performance of staff members’ duties, and on the legal risks incurred in the event of non-compliance. It also collects and investigates allegations relating to breaches of ethics, in particular situations likely to be qualified as conflicts of interest.

The mediator

Deontology, mediation and scientific integrity 2

Caroline Asfar-Cazenave, Senior Lecturer in Private Law and Director of the Mediation and Dispute Resolution University Diploma

Role and missions

Any person under the authority of the University, whether staff or student, may apply to the mediator.

The mediator’s mission is to receive and examine requests relating to disputes that have not been resolved at a first stage. She may be called upon in the context of :

a relational conflict between several persons dependent on the University if they consider that this conflict is prejudicial to their interests (interpersonal mediation)
a conflict with the Administration when the latter makes a decision that is not favourable to the person concerned and a disagreement persists following the explanation that has been given (institutional mediation)
The mediator may also receive all information from third parties to a conflict whose victims would not dare to refer to the University’s officials, when these conflicts are prejudicial to their interests or generate risks for the institution. Finally, it may receive all requests or information from persons outside the University which would suggest the existence of a conflict situation whose victims depend on the University.

Within the framework of institutional mediation, the mediator proposes any method of resolution that seems appropriate when the usual remedies have not been successful, in compliance with the legal framework and the University’s internal provisions. The mediator can only suggest solutions and/or provide advice to the persons who have referred the matter to her. She has no decision-making power. This power is the sole prerogative of the competent authorities in the subject matter.

In the context of interpersonal mediation, the mediator organises the mediation framework allowing the parties to exchange in a secure communication space. Responsibility, autonomy and consent are the basis of the ethics of mediation. Making the actors in the conflict responsible means that they are the ones who participate directly in the elaboration of the solution. Autonomy refers to their freedom to participate in the process, which can only take place with their consent. The parties are also free to stop the mediation process at any time without having to justify it.

The mediator respects a code of ethics and undertakes to guarantee :

  • Neutrality: the solution that will be found belongs to the parties themselves. The mediator does not advise them, nor influence them on the outcome of the mediation. The solutions will be chosen by the parties themselves;
  • Independence: the mediator is detached from any pressure from within or outside the mediation. If the conditions of his independence are no longer guaranteed, he shall interrupt the mediation. In the event of a link or proximity to one of the parties, the mediator will withdraw from the case and propose that it be passed on to another institutional mediator (e.g. the academic mediator);
  • Impartiality: the mediator respects a balance of treatment between all parties. He/she listens sympathetically and has an equidistant attitude;
  • Confidentiality: all elements exchanged during the mediation remain confidential. Confidentiality is binding on the parties and on the mediator with regard to third parties. However, it may be waived by the parties;
  • Free recourse to mediation


Céline Laronde-Clerac, lecturer and researcher in Private Law and Criminal Sciences, co-director of the Master’s degree in Justice, Trials and Procedures.

Role and missions

La Rochelle Université is committed to implementing an institutional policy on scientific integrity. The main tasks of the scientific integrity officer are as follows :

  • to participate in the definition of policies for compliance with the requirements of scientific integrity
  • in conjunction with the deontologist advisor, coordinate awareness-raising and training activities and organise measures to prevent and detect breaches of scientific integrity requirements
  • investigate questions and admissible reports relating to such breaches that are referred to him or her
  • guarantee the confidentiality of the procedure for handling reports
  • transmit as soon as possible to the competent body of the institution a report designed to enable it to decide on the action to be taken in respect of each report investigated
  • ensure that the data and publications affected by the breach of scientific integrity requirements are reported to the parties concerned
  • inform the President of the University of internal systems or practices that do not offer sufficient guarantees in terms of scientific integrity

The scientific integrity referent is the first point of contact for all actors in the University’s research sector who have a question about scientific integrity and for all those who believe they have observed a breach.