National newspapers will now have to agree to an arbitrator hearing cases brought by those who believe they have been libeled but do not want to go to court.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) yesterday rolled out the new scheme to which most national newspapers, including The Daily Mail, have signed up.
Previously, IPSO’s arbitration scheme was voluntary – meaning newspapers could decide not to send cases to arbitration.
The Independent Press Standards Organisation’s arbitration scheme was previously voluntary
But from now on, it will be compulsory in any case where a person has a genuine claim against a national newspaper which is signed up to IPSO.
Any press abuse victim who has a valid claim and wants to go down the arbitration route will see their fees capped at £100 – and could be paid out up to £60,000 in aggravated damages.
The rules will mean that anyone could take action against a national newspaper without running up a hefty legal bill in the process.
Of the scheme’s launch yesterday, IPSO’s chief executive, Matt Tee, said: ‘The compulsory arbitration scheme covers the biggest national newspaper titles in the UK and is a low-cost means of people who have been wronged by a newspaper getting compensation without the expense of court and legal fees’.
The scheme encompasses the seven best-selling national daily newspapers and eight best-selling Sunday newspapers and will cover claims including libel, invasion of privacy, data protection and harassment.
Culture Secretary Matt Hancock previously said of the plans: ‘I welcome IPSO’s announcement of binding low-cost arbitration – an important step forward for a Press that’s both free and fair.’
IPSO regulates the vast majority of British newspapers with its members including most of the national papers.
Those taking part in the new scheme include The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, Metro, The Times, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror and Daily Express.
The Guardian and The Financial Times will not be taking part because they are not members of IPSO.
The new rules mark a closer move to some of the recommendations made in the 2011-2012 Leveson Inquiry into the Press.
It will mean that those wanting to take action against a publication will no longer face unaffordable legal costs associated with court actions.