We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Durham University Mediation Service

Frequently Asked Questions

We can mediate regardless of the roles of the individuals involved in the conflict. The referral to the Mediation Service should be made by a more senior member of staff or by the head of department.

The conflict I am experiencing is between a member of staff and a student, can I use the service?

We can mediate in situations where there is a dispute between a member of staff and a student. Referral to the service can be made either by the line manager of member of staff or by the member of staff supporting the student.

What if I don’t want to continue with mediation?

Just let the mediators know - mediation is about helping people to find solutions and works only where all individuals concerned are willing to participate in the mediation process. Our mediators understand that sometimes, a person will not want to continue with mediation and this will not prevent you from accessing the service again in the future or from pursuing other services or processes which are separate to the Mediation Service.

Must I take part if my line manager has asked me to?

Mediation is for individuals who are willing to be guided to find solutions to difficulties, to resolve conflict and to make the future relationship better. If you are willing to do this, then mediation could help you.

If you do not want to take part in mediation, there is no obligation to do this and no mediation will take place without your agreement.

Can the outcome of mediation, or what is discussed in mediation sessions, be used as part of a formal process later?

No, the discussions and agreement must remain private between the individuals concerned. This does not prevent you from pursuing a formal process outside of the mediation.

Can I choose the mediators?

Mediators are always chosen very carefully in each case, although this is not done by individuals using the service. If you have a particular concern, you should contact the Mediation Service to discuss this by emailing

Can I change mediators?

Mediators are always chosen very carefully in each case, however, if you would like to change mediators, please let us know. If you are able to discuss this with the mediators already assigned, please do. Alternatively, please email

Are the mediators qualified?

Yes, all of our mediators have attended a nationally accredited training programme and have successfully passed both written and practical assessments. Our mediators attend regular CPD (Continuing Professional Development) sessions and many of them have experience of mediating conflict.

What if I have a complaint about the service?

Please email and one of the co-Chairs of the Mediation Service Steering Group will consider your complaint.

How will the Mediation Service contact me?

Normally, after two mediators have been chosen to work with you, one of them will contact you by email to introduce themselves, explain about the mediation process and arrange a time for both mediators to meet with you individually. If you would prefer the mediators to contact you by telephone or using a non-work email account, please ask for this to be included on your referral form.

Can the Mediation Service help with disputes outside of the University?

The Mediation Service can only be used to resolve disputes between individuals who are currently studying at, or working for, Durham University.

I have been asked to participate in mediation but I don’t want to

Mediation is for individuals who are willing to participate in the process, to find solutions to help them improve their relationship. If you are not, there is no obligation for you to take part, however, if you are willing to try to resolve a conflict in this way, you can find lots more information about how it works on this website.

If you agree to mediation, can you still pursue more formal procedures like a grievance or make a complaint?

Yes, you can choose to pursue formal procedures at a later date but it will be separate to mediation. Nothing discussed or agreed within mediation can be used in these formal process so there is nothing to lose by participating in mediation. Any formal process will be paused if you are taking part in mediation and likewise mediation will be paused if you chose to use a formal process.

Can I bring a friend, colleague or representative to the mediation meetings?

The mediators appreciate that mediation can appear to be daunting. To help individuals feel as comfortable as possible the mediators will create an atmosphere of trust and a 'safe space' where parties feel able to have frank and honest discussions. If an individual has a third party there as support it can create an unbalanced situation for all those involved. Mediation relies on the two parties each taking responsibility for their conflict and working through their difficulties with each other. The mediators will facilitate this process and ensure that the parties are able to contribute to the discussions.

Where will we meet?

The mediators will meet with you in a place that you feel comfortable, and in the case of the joint meeting, somewhere neutral. Please do let the mediators know if there is somewhere you would or would not like to meet so the mediators can find a suitable venue.

Who will attend the mediation and how many?

Mediation will be carried out by two trained mediators who will attend the mediation meetings with the members of staff who are undergoing mediation.

Do individual meetings take place first and then a joint one afterwards?

Yes, the mediators will meet with individuals separately first with the intended outcome being for both members of staff to meet with the mediators in a joint meeting, however both parties must agree to this joint meeting.

Do the mediators know the background?

The mediators will only have access to information shared on the mediation referral form.

What is the overall focus of the meeting?

The focus of the individual meeting is for each individual to identify the issues of conflict with the other person. The focus of the joint meeting is to assist each person to understand the others issues and to reach an agreement. Questions will be asked to one person at a time to help identify the issues and interests in need of resolution. Once issues and interests are identified, the mediators will encourage both parties to brainstorm solutions with a view to mutually agree on a solution.