- offering a low cost (max charge £100), quick arbitration scheme as an alternative to (expensive) law courts
- more than just ruling on whether a Code clause has been breached...
- ...damages of up to £60k could be paid out (closest we've come to fines)
- this was to undermine MPs support for (1) carrying out Leveson2, the 2nd half of his investigation (as agreed and announced by PM Cameron back in 2011 - to alleviate the huge pressure to act on press behaviour), and ...
- (2) the Tom Watson proposal to make law Leveson's report proposal that any papers NOT signed up to a royal charter-recognised regulator (ie, Impress; IPSO refuses to engage with this, as do the papers not in IPSO) would face large (the legal term is 'exemplary' = making an example of) damages payments AND would have to pay complainants fees win or lose!!!
- it succeeded ... but only after the Culture Secretary announced that Parliament would review IPSO's arbitration every 3 years (see below for more)
- that will create a little bit of statutory regulation!
- moreover, surely if MPs declare themselves unhappy with how IPSO are running the scheme they'll then look at the wider system of regulation?
- So: under huge pressure from backbench bills/amendments seeking to bring in Leveson 2 AND serious financial penalties for royal charter refuseniks, IPSO rushed out a proposal to offer an alternative to sueing with possible damages + a £100 costs cap; MPs clearly didn't trust IPSO/press industry, so it took a government pledge to make a 3-yearly review of this arbitration scheme a legal requirement (statutory) for the Watson + Leveson2 proposals to be rejected
Here's more from the Press Gazette on the extraordinary steps the government took, hand in hand with a press industry MPs clearly didn't trust to stick to their word, to convince MPs to back down from voting through the Watson (royal charter refuseniks penalties) + Leveson2 bills/amendments: