IPSO Press Complaints
Most, but not all, national newspapers have signed up to be regulated by the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). A full list can be found here. The list includes The Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Daily Mail, and The Sun. The list does not include The Guardian or The Independent.
Participating publications have signed up to the Editors’ Code of Practice. The Code seeks to impose a minimum standard of conduct on the participating publications. These standards cover the following aspects of publication and news-gathering:
- Intrusion into grief or shock
- Reporting Suicide
- Children in sex cases
- Reporting of Crime
- Clandestine devices and subterfuge
- Victims of sexual assault
- Financial journalism
- Confidential sources
- Witness payments in criminal trials
- Payments to criminals
Breaches of the code
If a participating publication breaches the Code then a complaint can be made to IPSO. Complaints must normally be made within four months of the publication or conduct complained of. This deadline may be extended where material remains accessible on a newspaper’s website.
Mediation or Adjudication
If appropriate, IPSO may seek to mediate a claim in the hope that the parties can agree an informal resolution (e.g. an agreed correction, clarification or apology or the removal of content). If this is not possible then the matter will be adjudicated on by IPSO’s Complaints Committee. The Committee will determine whether there has been a breach of the Code. It will publish its decision on its website setting out whether the Editors’ Code has been breached, and why. It may also require the publication to publish a copy of its findings in a manner determined by the Committee.
IPSO aims to process the majority of complaints within 90 days.
How we can help make an IPSO Press complaint
If you decide to make a complaint to IPSO we will advise you on and guide you through the process. We can draft the relevant written submissions and liaise with IPSO and the publisher on your behalf. Whilst there is no requirement to use solicitors, we can help ensure that your complaint is focused on the relevant factual and legal issues and that it is presented in a way that does it justice, giving it the best chance of succeeding. This particularly important where there is no oral hearing and decisions are based entirely on written submissions.
If you have suffered at the hands of the press a complaint to IPSO can lead to a prompt and cost-effective resolution. For example, if a clarification is published or content is removed from a website this may result in a victim of press abuse obtaining adequate vindication or sufficiently limiting the damage caused. However, a complaint to IPSO will not always be the most appropriate route. In some instances, it may make more sense to pursue a traditional claim for defamation, privacy or harassment or invite the publisher to arbitration (e.g. where compensation is sought).
In most instances we offer fixed-fee preliminary consultations from £400 plus VAT in order to assist you in deciding how best to proceed with your complaint.