Press regulator successfully defends judicial review proceedings in the High Court

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has successfully defended a judicial review brought by a former complainant Jonathan Coulter.

The claim related to its handling of two connected complaints against the Times and Sunday Times about coverage of a meeting called by the Palestinian Return Centre and chaired by Baroness Tonge, held in the House of Lords. IPSO had upheld the complaint against The Times on one point; the complaint against The Sunday Times complaint was not upheld.

The claimant argued that IPSO’s Complaints Committee had failed to consider the complaints properly.

While making no finding as to whether IPSO is amenable to judicial review, Mr Justice Warby, sitting in the High Court, dismissed all aspects of the claim. Costs have yet to be determined. He ruled that:

“The Committee’s approach to the inaccuracy complaints did not involve the errors of principle alleged by the claimant. Its decisions do not betray confusion over what can and cannot count as opinion, and were legitimate. Its approach to inaccuracy was not wrong in principle.”

Commenting, Chairman of IPSO Sir Alan Moses said:

"The High Court dismissed the main argument challenging IPSO’s procedures and decisions as fallacious. 

The importance of the Court’s decision is that it endorses and underlines the rationality and fairness of IPSO’s procedures and the care and conscientiousness with which it’s Complaints Committee reached its decisions.”