What is arbitration?

It is a process which two sides agree to use to rule on a dispute instead of going to court. It works like court, with an independent arbitrator looking at evidence, making a decision on the claim and requiring a remedy where the law has been breached.

What is the IPSO scheme?

It is a process designed specifically to rule on media law disputes. An expert and impartial media law barrister will rule on the claim. Fees are kept low (£50-100), and a ruling can be made more quickly than going through the courts. You can win damages of up to £60,000 and recover costs of up to £25,000.

All IPSO's national newspaper publishers are members of the compulsory scheme. That means that if you want to make a claim they must agree to arbitration. Some participating publishers are members of a voluntary scheme, which means you can request to arbitrate, but they are not obliged to do so. 

What are the advantages of using the IPSO scheme?

1. It’s low cost – £50-100.

2. It helps to keep other costs down.

3. It's quicker than court.

4. You can win a range of remedies.

5. It reduces inequality as it puts you and the newspaper on an equal footing.

6. You do not necessarily need a lawyer

How does IPSO arbitration work?

Once IPSO has accepted an arbitration claim, a senior barrister is appointed as the arbitrator. He or she will make a preliminary ruling on some core issues in the dispute. This provides a basis for settlement talks and may indicate the likely success of the claim. If one of the parties wants to continue the claim, it goes to a final ruling, after which the arbitrator can award damages and fees if the claim is successful.

How can I make a claim?

1. Look at the types of claim that can be made under the scheme to see if your claim is eligible.

2. Check whether the publisher is participating.

3. Check to make sure your claim is in date - you must start a claim within one year of the behaviour or article complained about. Check the scheme rules for further information.

4. Download an inquiry form and send to


If you need more information or help in understanding and using the scheme contact our arbitration team by phone on 0300 123 22 20, email at, or read our arbitration FAQs.