Defamation Bill


Before Clause 12






Insert the following new Clause—

“Arbitration Service for defamation and related civil claims against members of Independent Regulatory Board

(1) The Lord Chief Justice shall establish a Defamation Recognition Commission.

(2) Schedule (Recognition Commission) makes provision relating to the Defamation Recognition Commission.

(3) The Defamation Recognition Commission shall certify bodies as Independent Regulatory Boards in accordance with the criteria in Schedule (Recognition Commission).

(4) An Independent Regulatory Board shall provide a recognised arbitration service as set out in Schedule (Specialist Arbitration Service).

(5) A court shall take into account when awarding costs and damages whether either party, claimant or defendant in a dispute has chosen not to use the recognised arbitration service of an Independent Regulatory Board.

(6) A court shall award costs under subsection (5) on an indemnity basis unless the interests of justice require otherwise.

(7) A court may order a successful party to pay all the costs of proceedings if such party has unreasonably refused to use an available recognised arbitration service.

(8) A court awarding in its judgment exemplary damages where a defendant is guilty of a flagrant breach of a defendants rights, can also take into account whether—

(a) a claimant refused to use a recognised arbitration service;

(b) a defendant refused to use or join a recognised arbitration service;

(c) the court shall also take into account whether a defendant first sought advice from a recognised Independent Regulatory Board before publication.”

After Clause 17






Insert the following new Schedule—

“SCHEDULE Specialist Arbitration Service

1 An Independent Regulatory Board must provide an Arbitration Service in relation to defamation and related civil legal claims drawing on independent legal experts on a cost-only basis to the subscribing member.

2 The arbitration rules must provide for a fair, quick and inexpensive process, which is inquisitorial and free for complainants to use (save for a power to make an adverse order for the costs of the arbitrator if proceedings are frivolous or vexatious).

3 The arbitrator shall have the powers set out in sections 48(3) to (5) of the Arbitration Act 1996.

4 The arbitrator must be able to hold hearings where necessary or dispense with them where not necessary.

5 The process must include provision for frivolous or vexatious claims to be struck out at an early stage.”


Insert the following new Schedule—

“SCHEDULE Recognition Commission

1 This Schedule provides the method by which the Recognition Commission may be constituted for the purposes of this Act.

2 Appointments to membership of the Recognition Commission will be made by the Lord Chief Justice.

3 An individual may be appointed only if he or she has consented to act and is—

(a) a present or former Civil Service Commissioner;

(b) a present or former holder of high judicial office (within the meaning of Part 3 of the Constitutional Reform Act 2005; or

(c) a person who in the opinion of the Lord Chief Justice is suitable for appointment having regard to their reputation and experience and is independent of all political parties and all media organisations.

4 The Recognition Commission must consider whether an Independent Regulatory Board body has—

(a) sufficient guarantees of independence, including suitable independent, fair and transparent procedures for appointments and funding,

(b) suitable functions, powers, personnel and resources to ensure that it can fulfil its principal objects effectively,

(c) an appropriate standards code,

(d) an arbitration service able to deal with defamation and related civil claims, effective processes for upholding standards,

(e) an efficient procedure for handling complaints, and

(f) is open to all news publishers.

5 The Recognition Commission must review a recognised regulator at least once during the period of two years beginning with the date of certification, and at intervals of not more than three years after that.

6 If having reviewed a body the Recognition Commission is no longer satisfied that it complies with paragraph 3, the Recognition Commission must consult the body and give directions designed to ensure that the body complies with paragraph 3 within a reasonable time.

7 If the body fails to comply with directions given under paragraph 5 the Recognition Commission must revoke the body’s certification.

8 The Recognition Commission shall not be involved in the regulation of any subscriber to an Independent Regulatory Board.”

Prepared 31st January 2013