How does the scheme work?

A step-by-step guide to how IPSO's arbitration scheme works.

All IPSO-regulated 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 other publishers participate in the voluntary scheme, which means you can request to arbitrate but the publisher is not obliged to do so.

1. Inquiry

Fill out an inquiry form briefly setting out the details of your claim. This will enable IPSO to assess your claim to check whether it appears to fall within the remit of the scheme, for example whether the title is part of the scheme and whether the claim has been made in time. If so, IPSO will send you a claim form for you to set out your claim in more detail. Please note, in order to be valid, your claim form (not inquiry form) must be submitted within 1 year of the behaviour or first publication of the coverage complained about. Please ensure that you leave enough time for a review of your inquiry form. While we will always endeavour to assess inquiries in good time, it is advisable to leave a minimum of 10 working days for this process to take place.

2. Claim form

The claim form will prompt you to set out your claim in more detail, and it is intended to ensure that the arbitrator and the title against which the claim is made have a full understanding of your concerns.

3. Referral stage

After IPSO receives the completed claim form and supporting evidence, we refer the claim to the publication. The publication has 14 days to respond your claim. There is an opportunity for you (the claimant) and the publication to try to resolve your claim during this stage, which we call the "referral stage". This stage lasts up to 28 days.

4. Transfer of claim to CEDR

If not resolved during the referral stage, IPSO will transfer your claim to the arbitration company, CEDR (The Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution). You will sign an arbitration agreement and pay £50 to CEDR.

5. Arbitrator appointed

CEDR will appoint an arbitrator from the panel.

6. Preliminary ruling

The arbitrator examines your claim to make sure it is suitable for the scheme. Please note that your claim may not be suitable if it is particularly complex, requires disclosure from a number of third parties, or is likely to take a long time to resolve. More information about suitability can be found in the link at the bottom of the page. If the arbitrator does not strike out your claim and it is suitable, they will give an initial ruling on the core issues of the case. This initial ruling, whilst binding, will not lead to any award of damages or require parties to reimburse costs or fees. However, it can be use to help parties resolve the claim.

7. Interim period

There is a pause in proceedings (21 days) in which both you and the publication can decide how to proceed based on the preliminary ruling. This is intended to offer an opportunity for you and the publication to assess the strength of your positions following the preliminary ruling, and to consider whether to open or reopen discussions about a possible settlement.

8. Final ruling

If your claim is not resolved, you can decide to proceed to a final ruling. You pay another £50 to CEDR for their final ruling. The final ruling is a binding ruling which can require a range of remedies. The final ruling will normally be published on the IPSO website.

9. Fees and costs

If your claim is successful, the arbitrator will require that your fee (£100) is returned to you by the publication. They may also award you legal costs if appropriate.


Your claim may be struck out at any point during the above process, but usually at the earliest possible stage. You will be given notice of this and a chance to respond. Your claim may be struck out if the arbitrator determines:

  • Your claim is wholly without merit
  • Your claim is trivial, frivolous or vexatious
  • Your behaviour has frustrated the arbitration process

Following a strikeout, the arbitrator will require you to reimburse the publisher’s fees and may require you to reimburse their legal costs (up to the cost cap).