HomeInsightsIndependent Press Standards Organisation launches arbitration scheme for legal claims against the press.

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IPSO has announced the details of its year-long arbitration pilot scheme and has confirmed the appointment of the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) to run the pilot.

Publications taking part include national newspapers The Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Daily Mail and The Sun, as well as the Press Association, Condé Nast UK magazines and the Liverpool Echo.  The scheme will be reviewed after 12 months to examine uptake and effectiveness.

IPSO says that CEDR is one of the best-known conflict management and resolution consultancies in the world and currently provides dispute resolution services in the UK for various organisations, including ABTA, the Court of Appeal for England and Wales, the Football League, the NHS Litigation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

IPSO says that its arbitration pilot is a method of dispute resolution used to provide a cost-effective, straightforward and quick method of solving legal disputes between claimants and participating members of the press.  It is a voluntary scheme where both parties agree to binding arbitration overseen by specialist barristers recruited by CEDR to act as arbitrators.  The kind of claims that could potentially be resolved are those relating to libel, slander, misuse of private information, breach of confidence, malicious falsehood, harassment and data protection.

Where appropriate, arbitrators will be able to require the provision of remedies and/or require the payment of costs by one party to the other.  Built into the process, IPSO says, is an opportunity for both the claimant and the member of the press to try to reach a mutually agreed settlement prior to a final decision being delivered.

Arbitration will not replace the free-to-use regulatory complaints handling service operated by IPSO under the Editors’ Code of Practice, and will be run as a separate service.  In order to keep these functions separate, IPSO will not process an arbitration claim at the same time as a Code complaint that relates to the same subject matter.

The bespoke scheme attracts a small fee from both claimant and publication.  IPSO explains that the costs have been fixed and kept to a minimum and are capped at £2,800 (+VAT) for the claimant, though if the case is resolved after a preliminary ruling, it will only cost £300 (+VAT).  Due to the differences in Scottish law, the participating publishers have chosen not to include their Scotland-only publications as part of the pilot.  To read IPSO’s press release in full, click here.

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