IPSO begins process of creating low cost libel and privacy arbitration scheme

The Independent Press Standards Organisation has begun the process of setting up a low cost arbitration scheme for settling libel and privacy claims.

Such a scheme was among the recommendations in the Leveson report of November 2012.

An arbitration scheme has been strongly resisted by some regional newspaper publishers who fear it will lead to an increase in claims.

IPSO has launched a consultation on setting up the arbitration scheme, which will run until 7 September.

The consultation document suggests that both publishers and claimants would pay an admin fee of perhaps £250 before entering arbitration.

The document states that the rest of the arbitrator’s cost “associated with making a substantive determination” will be covered by the publisher. However these costs would be recoverable against the claimant however if their claim was struck out.

It has been suggested that arbitration claims could be limited to £25,000 and that some publishers in IPSO could opt out of the scheme.

If IPSO decides to press on with arbitration after the consultation it will begin with a pilot scheme.

IPSO chairman Sir Alan Moses 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 and is something I feel very strongly about.

“At the core of IPSO’s work is that we will support complainants who feel wronged by the press and this consultation asks for views on how an arbitration scheme could be part of that provision. I look forward to receiving responses from the public as well as the industry and commentators.”

In his report Leveson said, in recommendation 22: "The process should be fair, quick and inexpensive, inquisitorial and free for complainant s to use (save for a power to make an adverse order for the costs of the arbitrator if proceedings are frivolous or vexatious)."

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