Friday, 11 October 2013

The 'final' draft Royal Charter on Self -Regulation of the Press

Here it is - the 'final' draft of the Royal Charter on Self-Regulation of the Press

The regulatory arrangements:

1. The Royal Charter - this creates a Recognition Body and sets out matters such as the membership of the body and its powers - Royal Charter on Self-Regulation of the Press.  Essentially, the Recognition Body will be responsible for recognition of independent regulatory bodies and will have power to withdraw recognition from a regulator.  The use of a Royal Charter to incorporate a body (that is to create a body with its own legal personality) is not, in itself, unusual and over 900 chartered bodies exist - Letters Patent ~ Royal Charters ~ Press Regulation (13th February 2013). 

Under Article 2, the Royal Charter will continue in force unless revoked but Article 10 provides for Parliamentary involvement in any revocation.  Amendment of the Charter has to be in accordance with Article 9 and this aspect of the Charter links to section 96 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 - Royal Charters: requirements for Parliamentary approval

'Where a body is established by Royal Charter after 1 March 2013 with functions relating to the carrying on of an industry, no recommendation may be made to Her Majesty in Council to amend the body's Charter or dissolve the body unless any requirements included in the Charter on the date it is granted for Parliament to approve the amendment or dissolution have been met.'

2. Crime and Courts Act 2013 sections 34 to 42 - Publishers of news-related material: damages and costs

Explanatory notes to this Act state:   On 29th November 2012 the Report of An Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press was presented to Parliament (HC 780) (“the Leveson Report”).  In the report, the Rt. Hon. Lord Justice Leveson makes a range of recommendations to reform the regulatory framework for the press, creating a new framework for press regulation, with the principle of industry self-regulation at its heart.  The new framework proposed is for a system of voluntary self-regulation, overseen by a recognition body established by Royal Charter and strengthened by a series of incentives for members of the press in the application of costs and exemplary damages, encouraging them to join a recognised regulator. Sections 34 to 42 and Schedule 15 set out the new system for exemplary damages and costs, as well as defining those who meet the definition of a ‘relevant publisher’ to whom the new system of exemplary damages will apply.

(The explanatory note could be read as linking the Royal Charter to the Leveson report.  However, the Leveson report did not propose a Royal Charter).


The Guardian 11th October - Maria Miller tells press: agree to charter of face worse

MailOnline 12th October - Newspapers warn of deep reservations over Press Regulation deal 

The Guardian 14th October - Boris Johnson: Royal Charter on press regulation is monstrous folly

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