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IPSO press complaints

A potential alternative to defamation claim, is a complaint to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).  Most, but not all, national newspapers - as well as various other publications - have signed up to be regulated by IPSO (the full list the 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:

  • Accuracy
  • Privacy
  • Harassment
  • Intrusion into grief or shock
  • Reporting Suicide
  • Children
  • Children in sex cases
  • Hospitals
  • Reporting of Crime
  • Clandestine devices and subterfuge
  • Victims of sexual assault
  • Discrimination
  • 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 defamationprivacy or harassment or invite the publisher to arbitration (e.g. where compensation is sought).

In most instances we offer fixed-fee preliminary consultations in order to assist you in deciding how best to proceed with your complaint.

Why should I instruct Brett Wilson LLP?

In short, to ensure that you have the best team fighting for you and to maximise your prospects of success.  Defamation law is notoriously complex and it is generally ill-advised to instruct non-specialist lawyers.  Our work and client care is of the highest standard.  All cases are run by a specialist defamation solicitor.  We are confident we can help you seek the best result.

When your claim is asserted on Brett Wilson LLP’s letterhead, you can be sure it will be taken seriously.  We advance claims against the press every week and are well-respected within newspapers’ legal departments.  Where a newspaper has made a mistake it will normally be possible to reach a relatively prompt resolution.  Where this is not possible and it is necessary to go to court or to the regulator, where required, we know what we are doing.

As well as being listed in the prestigious Legal 500, Chambers and Partners and The Times Best Law Firms directories as a leading firm in the fields of defamation, privacy and reputation management law, partners Iain Wilson, Max Campbell and Tom Double are all individually recognised as leading individuals.  Iain Wilson and Max Campbell are additionally recommended by the Spear’s 500 HNWI directory for their reputation management work.  Iain Wilson is also recommended in the Tatler Address Book.  Most importantly, the firm receives excellent feedback from its clients and contemporaries.

Taking legal action can be stressful, time consuming and costly.  Therefore at the outset of your case we will conduct a cost benefit analysis with you. We will talk you through this process. We offer honest and pragmatic advice to our clients.  We will always consider alternative options, including approaching intermediaries or PR work.

How do I instruct Brett Wilson LLP?

The first step is to attend a preliminary consultation.  At the consultation we will advise you on the merits of any claim, talk through the relevant practical and legal issues, and set out your options.  We will review relevant documentation ahead of the consultation.  The consultation will help you understand your position and allow you to make an informed decision about what action to take.

Consultations take place in our London offices or by Zoom/Teams/telephone.  We can also travel to you.

To request a consultation please send us an emailcomplete our online enquiry form or call us on 020 7183 8950.  If emailing or using the online form, please provide a short outline of your situation.

Details of the cost of a consultation will be provided following your enquiry.


We regret that we are unable to review your case, consider papers or provide advice prior to a consultation or without being formally instructed.  

We do not offer alternative funding arrangements. 


Contact us to request a consultation

Call 020 7183 8950
or send us a message.

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