Press watchdog to run compulsory arbitration scheme

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) has announced today that it is creating a compulsory version of its low cost arbitration scheme. It has written to the national newspapers that are part of its current scheme to set out details of the compulsory version.

This change will mean that someone who has a genuine claim against a newspaper who could have gone to court (for example for libel, invasion of privacy, data protection or harassment) can ask for arbitration of their claim and the newspaper cannot refuse. It costs a maximum of £100 for the claimant. Under the current scheme, the newspaper could decide not to arbitrate on any given case.

The new scheme will also include a higher level of damages: arbitrators can award claimants up to £60,000, including aggravated damages.

National newspapers have been asked to confirm whether they will be joining the new compulsory scheme by Friday 4 May, with the new scheme going live by 31 July.

Matt Tee, IPSO Chief Executive, said:

“Lord Justice Leveson stressed the importance of having a low-cost means of people that had been wronged by a newspaper getting compensation, without the expense of court and legal fees. The new IPSO scheme does exactly that and the papers are not able to choose which cases they take.”

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."