Mediation fails to solve row over promotion

April 10, 1998

Cambridge University has been unable to reach agreement on the independent mediation of an appeal court judge in its four-year row with history lecturer Gill Evans.

The dispute over Cambridge's procedures for promoting academic staff had led to Dr Evans winning leave in the High Court for a judicial review of Cambridge's promotions system.

In January, Dr Evans and the university registrar, Tim Mead, agreed on mediation, and invited Sir Brian Neill, a judge in the court of appeal, to investigate Dr Evans's complaints that the university's procedures for promoting staff were "outdated, secretive, arbitrary and unfair".

Sir Brian came up with a proposed settlement in February. Dr Evans agreed to sign up to the compromise, but the university council has yet to do so.

Sir Brian proposed "immediate consideration" of the establishment of an independent review body, an ad hoc syndicate, to review Cambridge's promotions procedures and "patterns of career expectation", and to review past promotions cases.

Dr Evans said that the council's failure to agree represents a rejection of the arbitration. She had agreed to secrecy under the terms of the mediation, but now says she is no longer inside the mediation process, and is collecting signatures - she needs ten - to force a debate in the Regent House on "the failure of the council so far to agree for its part of the settlement".

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