ROYAL CHARTER ON SELF-REGULATION OF THE PRESS
CAVEAT: Still some format editing to do!
ON SELF-REGULATION OF THE PRESS
ELIZABETH THE SECOND by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Our other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith:
TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, GREETING!
WHEREAS on 13th-July 2011 Our Prime Minister announced to Our Parliament the establishment of an Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press:
AND WHEREAS Our Baroness Browning, Minister of State at the Home Office and the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt, Our Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport appointed the Right Honourable Lord Justice Leveson as Chairman of this Inquiry, pursuant to section 3(1)(a) of the Inquiries Act 2005, by letter dated 28th-July 2011, to be assisted by a panel of senior independent persons with relevant expertise in media, broadcasting, regulation and government appointed as Assessors under section 11(2)(a) of that Act:
AND WHEREAS the Terms of Reference for the Inquiry included provision for the making of recommendations for a new more effective policy and regulatory regime which supports the integrity and freedom of the press, the plurality of the media, and its independence, including from Government, while encouraging the highest ethical and professional standards:
AND WHEREAS the Report of the Inquiry into the Culture, Practices and Ethics of the Press was presented to Parliament pursuant to section 26 of the Inquiries Act 2005 on 29th November 2012:
AND WHEREAS the Report of the Inquiry recommended that for an effective system of self-regulation to be established, all those parts of the press which are significant news publishers should become members of an independent regulatory body:
AND WHEREAS t
he independent regulatory body which is intended to be the successor to the Press Complaints Commission should put forward the Editors’ Code of Practice as its initial code of standards:
AND WHEREAS the Report of the Inquiry recommended that there should be a mechanism to recognise and certify an independent regulatory body or bodies for the press, and that the responsibility for such recognition and certification should rest with a recognition body:
AND WHEREAS the Report of the Inquiry recommended that such a recognition body should not be involved in the regulation of the press:
AND WHEREAS it is in the interests of Our People that there should be a body corporate established for the purpose of determining recognition of an independent regulatory body or bodies, in pursuance of the recommendations of the Report of the Inquiry.
NOW KNOW YE that We by Our Prerogative Royal of Our especial grace, certain
knowledge and mere motion do by this Our Charter for Us, Our Heirs and Successors will, ordain and declare as follows:
There shall be a body corporate known as the Recognition Panel.
There shall be a Board of the Recognition Panel which shall be responsible for the conduct and management of the Recognition Panel’s business and affairs, in
accordance with the further terms of this Charter
The members of the Board of the Recognition Panel shall be the only Members of the body corporate, but membership of the body corporate shall not enable any individual to act otherwise than through the Board to which he belongs.
TERM OF CHARTER
This Charter shall take effect from [date subsequent to the date of sealing].
This Charter shall continue in force unless and until it is dissolved, in accordance with Article 10, by Us, Our Heirs or Successors in Council, or otherwise.
The Purpose for which the Recognition Panel is established and incorporated is to carry on activities relating to the recognition of Regulators in accordance with the terms of this Charter.
Provisions and definitions to assist in the interpretation of this Charter are contained in Schedule 4
The Recognition Panel has the general functions, in accordance with the terms of this Charter, of:
determining applications for recognition from Regulators;
reviewing whether a Regulator which has been granted recognition shall continue to be recognised;
withdrawing recognition from a Regulator where the Recognition Panel is satisfied that the Regulator ceases to be entitled to recognition; and
reporting on any success or failure of the recognition system.
In performing the general functions in Article 4.1 the Board shall apply the Scheme of Recognition set out in Schedule 2
(Scheme of Recognition).
The Board shall manage the assets of the Recognition Panel efficiently and effectively so as to best achieve the Recognition Panel’s Purpose.
The functions of the Recognition Panel shall be public functions.
APPOINTMENTS AND MEMBERSHIP
The Board of the Recognition Panel shall consist of a Chair and no fewer than 4 and no more than 8 other Members.
Appointments to the Board of the Recognition Panel, and the terms of such
appointments, shall be regulated by Schedule 1 (Appointments and Terms of
Subject to the terms of this Article, the Board shall determine and regulate its own procedures for conducting its business and discharging its functions under this Charter.
The Board shall not delegate the following decisions:
A decision to recognise or withdraw recognition from a Regulator in accordance with the Scheme of Recognition;
A decision to undertake an ad hoc review in accordance with the Scheme of Recognition.
The Board shall put in place arrangements by which a Member can:
register his interests or any other matter he considers relevant to the Purpose of the Recognition Panel;
determine whether any interest he holds, directly or indirectly, gives rise to a conflict of interest;
declare such conflicts to the Board; and
absent himself from decision-making where the Board determines it is appropriate so to do.
The Board shall publish its procedures.
The Recognition Panel may employ staff or otherwise engage people whose services are deemed expedient in order to carry out or promote the Purpose of the Recognition Panel, and, in particular, to organise, assist with the work of, and advise the Board.
The Board may authorise the payment of remuneration to members of staff or pay or make payments towards the provision of pensions, allowances or gratuities, at such rates or amounts as it determines.
None of the following may be a member of staff employed by the Recognition Panel or be otherwise engaged by the Recognition Panel in a similar capacity (whether on a full-time or part-time basis):
a relevant publisher or someone otherwise involved in the publication of news or current affairs in the United Kingdom;
person who is part of the governing body of a relevant publisher;
the chair or member of the Board of a Regulator;
a member of staff working for a Regulator or relevant publisher;
a civil servant;
a serving or former member of the House of Commons, the House of Lords, the
Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly or the National Assembly for Wales.
The Recognition Panel, acting through the Board, may do all things that are lawful as may further the Purpose of the Recognition Panel, and in particular, but without limitation may:
borrow or raise and secure the payment of money for the purpose of performing the Panel’s general functions;
enter into enforceable arrangements requiring the non-refundable payment of fees by Regulators seeking recognition;
procure professional legal or other advisory services; and
procure professional financial advice, including for the purpose of achieving best value for money.
A provision of this Charter may be added to, supplemented, varied or omitted (inwhole or in part) if, and only if the requirements of Article 9.2 are met.
Before any proposal (made by any person) to add to, supplement, vary or omit (inwhole or in part) a provision of this Charter (“proposed change”) can take effect a draft of the proposed change must have been laid before Parliament, and approved by a resolution of each House. For this purpose “approved” means that at last two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.
The Recognition Panel may only propose a change to the terms of this Charter if a resolution has been passed unanimously by all of the Members of the Board, who shall determine the matter at a meeting duly convened for that purpose.
The provisions of Article 9.2 do not apply to a proposed change to the Charter that is required merely to correct a clerical or typographical error.
Provided the terms of Article 9.2 have been met, any such addition, supplement, variation or omission shall, when approved by Us, Our Heirs or Successors in Council, become effective so that this Charter shall thenceforth continue and operate as though it had been originally granted and made accordingly.
This Charter, and the Recognition Panel created by it, shall not be dissolved unless information about the proposed dissolution has been presented to Parliament, and that proposal has been approved by a resolution of each House.
For this purpose “approved” means that at least two-thirds of the members of the House in question who vote on the motion do so in support of it.
The Recognition Panel may, if it appears necessary to the Board (acting
unanimously) to do so:
surrender this Charter (and, provided the terms of Article 10.1 have been
complied with, thereafter dissolve the Recognition Panel) with the permission of Us, Our Heirs or Successors in Council and upon such terms as We or They consider fit, and
wind up or otherwise deal with the affairs of the Recognition Panel in such
manner as they consider fit, provided that all remaining funds (which remain
once the debts of the Recognition Panel have been paid in full) together with the proceeds from the sale of any assets belonging to the Recognition Panel shall be paid to the Consolidated Fund.
The dissolution of the Recognition Panel is subject to any applicable statutory
provisions or other legal requirement (relating to the cessation of the body’s operation, including as an employer or contractor).
The Exchequer shall grant to the Recognition Panel such sums of money as are sufficient to enable the Board to commence its operations and thereafter fulfil its Purpose for the first three years after the date upon which this Charter becomes effective.
The grant of such monies shall be on such terms as Managing Public Money requires.
The Board shall prepare annual budgets for each financial year, and in doing so shall have regard to the need to ensure it achieves value for money.
For the first three years after the date upon which this Charter becomes effective, the Board shall provide the Lord Chancellor, upon request, with such budgets, once prepared, and with such other information as she requires, in order to estimate the on going costs of the Recognition Panel from time to time.
The Board shall prepare, consult publicly upon, and publish a scheme for charging fees to Regulators in relation to the functions of recognition and review, to come into force from the third anniversary of the date upon which this Charter becomes effective.
Any fee charged shall comply with Article 11.4.
The aim of the scheme shall be for the Recognition Panel to recover its full costs in determining applications for recognition and for conducting cyclical reviews, as appropriate.
Board may determine to set different fees for different circumstances.
fee may not exceed the following amounts:
in the case of a fee relating to an application for recognition £x;
in the case of a fee relating to a cyclical
review £y; and
the amount specified shall be
specified at Article 1
indexation formula is
to be used by the
specified in this Charter, including those in the Schedules
to this Charter
ere no period for variation is specified,
on each annual anniversary of the date this Charter becomes effective
formula using the Consumer Prices
The Board shall design the scheme so that fees become due and payable
irrespective of the success of an application
or the outcome of a cyclical review
enforceability as a matter of private contract law
In the event
that the Board considers that its income (from whatever source
received) is likely to be insufficient to meet its expenditure
relating to (a) legal
nses arising from litigation or threatened litigation,
(c) wholly unfores
, it shall have the right to request further
sums from the Exchequer
In response to such a request, t
he Exchequer shall grant
such sums to the Recognition Panel
as it considers necessary to ensure that
urpose of the Recognition P
frustrated by a
lack of funding.
References to the Exchequer in this
rticle mean the Exchequer acting
, and with the consent of the Lord
s Commissioners of
Each Member shall exercise fiduciary dutie
s in relation to the use
by the Recognition Panel
. The Chair
appoint one Member to take specific responsibility for reporting to the Board on the
management of the
The Board must keep proper accounts and proper records in relation to the
The Board must prepare a statement of accounts for each financial year, and
must send a copy of the statement to the Comptroller and Auditor General as soon
after the end of the financial year.
In accordance with
arrangements made between the
Comptroller and Auditor General and the
Panel, the Comptroller and
Auditor General will examine, certify and report on the statement
make arrangements for
a copy of the certified
statement and the Compt
and Auditor General’
s report to
be laid before
and Article 13
“financial year” means:
beginning with the date this Charter becomes effective under
Article 2 (
term of charter
) and ending with the following 31 March; and
each successive period of twelve
months ending with 31 March;
where the administrative assistance of a
Minister of the
is required for
the Recognition Panel to lay a document
shall provide such assistance.
As soon as practicable after the end of each financial year the Board must
prepare and publish a report about th
e activities of the Recognition Panel during that
, including whether it has granted recognition to, or withdrawn it from a
The Board shall make arrangements for the Report to be laid before
The Recognition Panel
shall have perpetual succession, and shall continue to
exist as a legal perso