The Independent Press Standards Organisation said the measures would offer increased access to justice as envisaged by the Leveson Report of November 2012 (pictured, Lord Leveson with his report)
A low-cost arbitration scheme with cheaper fees for the public to bring legal claims against newspapers has been launched by the Press watchdog.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation said the measures would offer increased access to justice as envisaged by the Leveson Report of November 2012.
The cost for claimants who believe they have been wronged has been cut from £300 to a maximum of £100 – a £50 fee at the start and £50 if the case goes to final ruling.
Publishers will fund the rest of the administration costs and all of the arbitrators’ fees. The scheme began yesterday after a year-long trial.
Almost all national and local newspapers, including the Daily Mail, are members of Ipso, which is entirely free of state control.
Matt Tee, chief executive of Ipso, said a key theme of Lord Justice Leveson’s report into Press standards was access to justice ‘for those that can’t afford to go to court’.
He said: ‘Access to low-cost arbitration is an important part of the service we offer to the public and I’m pleased that we have been able to reduce the upfront cost of arbitration for a claimant to just £50.
‘In fact, even if the hearing proceeds to final ruling, the maximum it will cost a member of the public is £100, thus making the Ipso scheme fully Leveson-compliant.’
Damian Collins, chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said: ‘I welcome Ipso’s decision to launch a new arbitration scheme which will now allow anyone to bring a claim against a newspaper for a one-off fee of £50.
‘One of the most important recommendations made in the Leveson Report was that there should be an affordable and accessible system of arbitration when people want to make complaints against the Press. I believe that the announcement today is a significant step forward in making this a reality.’
The Ipso scheme will provide a low-cost, straightforward and quick method of solving legal disputes between members of the public and newspapers which have agreed to take part, including the Daily Mail. This includes claims for libel, slander, misuse of private information, breach of confidence, malicious falsehood, harassment and data protection violations.
Damian Collins (pictured), chairman of the Commons digital, culture, media and sport committee, said he ‘welcomed’ Ipso’s new arbitration scheme
The scheme is voluntary with both parties having to agree to binding arbitration overseen by specialist barristers. It is managed by the Alternative Dispute Resolution provider, CEDR.
But it does not replace the regulatory complaints handling service operated by the watchdog under the Editors’ Code of Practice.
This remains free and available to all, with no need to seek legal or specialist advice, and will continue to run as a separate service, said the watchdog. MPs on the culture committee had called for Ipso to offer low-cost arbitration in its response to a Government consultation on Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act.
If implemented, this draconian law would force newspapers to pay all legal costs in a libel case even if they won, deterring them from investigating corruption and other scandals.
It would apply to any newspaper that refused to sign up to a state-approved regulator called Impress, which is funded almost entirely by the ex-Formula 1 boss Max Mosley.
He has been a vocal supporter of greater controls on the Press since being exposed by the News of the World for taking part in an S&M orgy with prostitutes.