What is mediation?

Mediation is a process for handling disputes that assists the people involved to reach an agreement, working with an impartial independent mediator.  The parties in dispute, rather than the mediator, decide the terms of any settlement.

How can mediation be of benefit?

  • It is voluntary.  It is important that the parties come to the table in good faith, with a will to settle the dispute.
  • It is confidential.  This means that issues and ideas for resolution of the conflict can be discussed without fear of them being used against you in the future.
  • Mediations are easily arranged.  Usually it only takes a few phone calls for a session to be set up at a neutral venue.
  • Mediations tend to be informal.  The mediator is trained to make mediation sessions as accessible as possible for everyone involved.
  • It is balanced. Everyone gets a fair chance to be heard.  Mediation provides an opportunity for you to say what’s important to you and hear the other person’s perspectives. The agenda and outcome are controlled by the parties.  The mediation approach is problem-solving rather than adversarial and so this often results in creative options for settlement.  In mediation, you speak for yourself and make your own decisions.

Why use mediation?

Mediation is a solution-seeking procedure about finding a way forward that satisfies everyone. This is often called the win/win approach.  It differs from the court process, which is often said to produce a win/lose outcome.  Mediation treats all parties equally.  This means that the parties must have a desire to resolve the problem at hand.

What is the role of the mediator?

Mediators avoid taking sides, making judgements or giving guidance.  In this way, mediation is different from processes like advocacy, counseling, arbitration, and advice giving.  The mediator is responsible for developing effective communication and building consensus between the parties. 
Fiona O'Donnell (Academic Affairs) can organise mediation where appropriate. She can also provide further information about the mediation process. Referrals to Fiona should be via a member of the Research Degrees Committee