Repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2014
Last updated: 11:47am 18 January 2019
Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.80
We will repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2014, which, if enacted, would force media organisations to become members of a flawed regulatory system or risk having to pay the legal costs of both sides in libel and privacy cases, even if they win.
The Crime and Courts Act 2013 gained Royal Assent in 2013 after recommendations made by the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press. Section 40 of the act proved particularly controversial, because it requires publishers to either join a government-approved regulator, or else face liability for the costs of both sides in libel and privacy cases, regardless of the outcome. Many newspapers were unhappy about the potential implications of the new law for press freedom and refused to recognise the official press regulator, IMPRESS.
“After considering the responses to the consultation, the Government plans to repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013, and shall do so when there is a suitable legislative vehicle.”
It is noteworthy that in December 2018, the chair of the Press Recognition Panel said there is “no parliamentary vehicle in sight” through which Section 40 would be repealed.
As of yet, there has been no change to the law so Section 40 remains in place, and the reiteration of the manifesto pledge in the consultation response does not represent significant movement towards fulfilment. We’re marking this as ‘not started’. We’ll be watching to see if a “suitable legislative vehicle” arrives and the process of repeal begins in earnest. Follow this policy to stay updated.
Get stuck into the detail!
- Government seeks views on press regulation issues – Gov.uk
- RSF welcomes UK plan to repeal Section 40 – Reporters Without Borders
- Government Response to The Consultation on the Leveson Inquiry and its Implementation, Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 and Part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry – Gov.uk
- Government says it is committed to scrapping Section 40 and Leveson 2 – but no mention of either in Queen’s Speech – Press Gazette
- News International phone hacking scandal – Wikipedia
- Leveson Inquiry – Gov.uk
- Crime and Courts Act 2013 – Wikipedia
- Crime and Courts Act 2013 – Gov.uk
- Section 40 is an appalling piece of legislation which will damn publishers – The Independent
- ‘Business as usual’ on Section 40 as Government yet to repeal it, says Press Recognition Panel chairman – Press Gazzette
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