Alternative press regulator Impress has extended the scope of its arbitration scheme to include civil claims for breaches of the Data Protection Act.
It follows the introduction of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation which came into effect in late May, updating data laws.
The Impress arbitration scheme, which also covers defamation, breach of confidence, misuse of private information, malicious falsehood and harassment, allows publishers to settle legal disputes outside of court.
Under the Royal Charter, Impress must offer claimants a free libel complaints arbitration scheme which can make the process quicker and cheaper than going through the courts.
Impress currently regulates 109 publications across the UK, although it counts a publication’s print and online service separately, and members are contractually obliged to participate in the arbitration scheme.
So far the regulatory body has received five applications for arbitration and has published two arbitration awards.
The first was awarded to freelance journalist Denis Rice, with Byline Media told to pay £2,500 in libel damages.
Evolve Politics were ordered to pay £900 in damages for wrongly claiming Sky News broadcaster Jonny Gould was in attendance at the controversial Presidents Club dinner exposed by the Financial Times.
According to Impress arbitration scheme rules, under “ordinary circumstances” the maximum sum that can be awarded to a claimant is £3,000 plus the hourly rate of the complainant’s lawyer, which should not exceed £300 an hour.
Impress arbitrators are appointed by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a not-for-profit body with 15,000 members.