Court of Appeal rejects publishers' injunction bid, Queen signs cross-party Royal Charter - Press Gazette

Court of Appeal rejects publishers' injunction bid, Queen signs cross-party Royal Charter

The Queen has given her approval to a new Royal Charter governing the regulation of the press.

The monarch set her seal on the charter – backed by the three main political parties – at a meeting of the Privy Council.

The way was cleared after a last ditch legal attempt by newspaper and magazine publishers to block it was rejected by the Court of Appeal.

The charter establishes a new recognition body which is intended to oversee a powerful new regulator set up by the industry.

Ministers argue that it offers the best way forward for the industry while stopping short of full statutory regulation.

However it is deeply opposed by many newspapers and magazines who say there should be no involvement by politicians in the regulation of the press.

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport spokesman said: "Acting on the advice of the Government, the Privy Council has granted the cross-party Royal Charter.

"Both the industry and the Government agree independent self-regulation of the press is the way forward and that a Royal Charter is the best framework. The question that remains is how it will work in practice; we will continue to work with the industry, as we always have.

"A Royal Charter will protect freedom of the press whilst offering real redress when mistakes are made. Importantly, it is the best way of resisting full statutory regulation that others have tried to impose."

The Privy Council meeting, held at Buckingham Palace, was attended by four ministers – Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Culture Secretary Maria Miller, the Liberal Democrat justice minister, Lord McNally of Blackpool.

The announcement came at the end of a day of high drama in the courts.

After the High Court rejected an application by newspaper and magazine publishers to block the charter, the industry took its case to the Court of Appeal.

But at 4.45pm – just 45 minutes before the Privy Council was due to meet – the news came that Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, sitting with two other Court of Appeal judges, had refused to grant an injunction pending further legal action.

"We are not willing to grant interim relief 'administratively' pending an application for permission to appeal," the judge said.

Shortly before the Privy Council met, the Government announced a final flurry of amendments in an attempt to allay industry concerns.

The included a requirement that any future changes to the charter would require the unanimous agreement of the recognition body's board as well as a two thirds majority of both Houses of Parliament.

Government sources said the amendment was intended to address newspaper fears of political meddling.



Press Gazette's must-read weekly newsletter featuring interviews, data, insight and investigations.