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IPSO launches arbitration scheme for legal claims against the press

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) on Friday announced the details of its year-long arbitration pilot scheme and have 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, Conde Nast UK magazines and the Liverpool Echo (full list below). The scheme will be reviewed after 12 months to examine uptake and effectiveness.

CEDR is one of the best known conflict management and resolution consultancies in the world and currently provide dispute resolution services in the UK for organisations as varied as ABTA, the Court of Appeal for England and Wales, the Football League, the NHS Litigation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.

The IPSO 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 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 which relates to the same subject matter.

The bespoke scheme attracts a small fee from both claimant and publication. 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.

Commenting on the launch of the pilot scheme, Sir Alan Moses, Chairman of IPSO said: “Arbitration is not just about reducing costs and delays associated with litigation, it is about widening access to justice for members of the public. They need a means whereby they can vindicate their legal rights without going to court. At the core of IPSO’s work is our support for claimants who feel wronged by the press and this pilot is part of this provision. We look forward to working with CEDR in delivering this important service.”

Dr Karl Mackie CBE, Chief Executive of CEDR said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by IPSO to provide the pilot for the Arbitration Scheme. We have worked hard with them on the scheme to help streamline administration and manage the cost of dispute resolution to parties. This new scheme demonstrates the important role there is for alternative dispute resolution and we are looking forward to working with IPSO, its members and any claimants to resolve their disputes.”

Publications taking part: The Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror, The Sunday People, The Liverpool Echo, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Weekly Telegraph, Brides, Conde Nast Johansens, Conde Nast Traveller, Glamour, GQ, GQ Style, House and Garden, Love, Tatler, The World of Interiors, Vanity Fair, Vogue, Wired, The Daily Express, The Daily Star, New!, OK!, Star Magazine, The Sun, The Times, The Sunday Times, The Times Literary Supplement, Daily, Mail, Mail on Sunday, Metro as well as the Press Association.