High Court refuses injunction on press regulation charter

The High Court has refused an injunction application from the Press Standards Board of Finance (Pressbof) aimed at preventing the Government going to the Privy Council with a Royal Charter on press regulation.

Brick Court’s Richard Gordon QC was instructed to lead the last-minute bid to halt the Government’s plan for press regulation from getting the royal seal of approval. The group will take its case to the Court of Appeal this afternoon.

Gordon was instructed by DAC Beachcroft partner Julian Gizzi for Pressbof.

Landmark Chambers’ Nathalie Lieven QC is leading the Government response to the case, having been instructed for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Gordon argued that the Government had failed to fully consider the alternative charter proposed by the press. Pressbof had been hoping to be awarded a stay of proceedings, preventing the Government’s Royal Charter from being approved by the Privy Council. The last-minute injunction hearing was granted at 10.30am this morning.

The court also refused permission to apply for judicial review of the Privy Council’s rejection of the press’s proposals on the basis that there was no arguable case.

Lieven argued that the JR application “was without any merit at all” and that it was up to Pressbof to make the case for the charter but it had chosen not to do so.

Lords Justice Richards and Sales rejected the case. Richards LJ said there was a greater public interest in securing independent press regulation than in the matters raised by PressBof. There was no arguable claim for judicial review and the injunction application would have been refused in any event.