RPC and Bates Wells Braithwaite team up to establish new press watchdog

RPC and Bates Wells Braithwaite (BWB) lead on creation of Leveson’s new press regulation system.

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) is being established to independently regulate the UK’s newspapers and magazines following the News of the World hacking scandal and subsequent Leveson Inquiry into press standards. The organisation is expected to be fully operational by May 2014.

The RPC team, led by head of commercial litigation Geraldine Elliott and commercial contracts specialist Sanjay Pritam, drafted IPSO’s contract and regulations, defining how the body will operate. It includes how it will handle complaints from the public, ensure compliance, and provide for establishment of an arbitration service.

Pritam said: “RPC’s media team was involved in the Leveson Inquiry from the very beginning. That, and our long track record in media work, made us uniquely suited to working on the establishment of IPSO.

“IPSO will be a robust and independent organisation which will balance protection of free speech with improved governance of the industry.

“RPC and Bates Wells Braithwaite were involved in a highly collaborative approach to agree with all the interested parties how the new regulator will work in practice.”

The BWB team, led by deputy managing partner Philip Kirkpatrick, drafted the new watchdog’s and separate regulatory funding body’s corporate framework and advised on tax.

Kirkpatrick said: “Establishing IPSO as a community interest company sends a clear message about the purpose of the new regulator: it is established by the press but it is for the public benefit.”

Media lawyers set out their expectations for the new regulator ahead of the publication of Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press at the end 2012 (27 November 2012).

RPC partner Keith Mathieson stressed at the time that any model proposed by Leveson LJ must maintain a sense of proportionality.