10th July 2024
Impress Opens Up Industry-Leading Dispute Resolution Services To The Public

The UK’s only independent press regulator, Impress, has today announced that they will be opening their alternative dispute resolution services to everyone, including members of the public, in an effort to redress the power imbalance caused by the cost of British court system.

Previously, the services were only on offer to those signed up to the Impress regulatory scheme. But in a bid to provide a route to justice for all, no matter their status, all members of the public, as well as other organisations, will now be able to access the service.

“For too long, the cards have been stacked against the majority, with very few people able to access justice when they feel they have been wronged, or defend themselves when met with accusations,” Impress Chief Executive Lexie Kirkconnell-Kawana said.

“It has simply become too expensive. Ordinary people are effectively powerless if they are unfairly targeted by a well-resourced platform or media group while independent journalists and smaller publishers also have no option but to cave in when met with a legal threat from those in positions of power designed to intimidate and silence them.

“Now, thanks to Impress Alternative Dispute Resolution, everyone can get affordable and binding resolutions, leaving the press free to hold power to account and the public safe in the knowledge that they can access justice when they are wronged.”

Many people think that, when they have been wronged, the only route to achieving justice is through the court system. But that is not the case.

By opting out of the court process, you can still get a legally binding outcome by seeking alternative dispute resolution. The only difference is that you’ll get a result much faster and for less money.

Cordella Bart-Stewart, a solicitor with over 30 years’ of experience and Impress board member, says: “Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) has been around for many years and is proven to be a faster, simpler and effective way to obtain a fair decision. It avoids a drawn out and often expensive court hearing and the parties are more likely to be satisfied with the decision.

“ADR is an alternative pathway to justice. It is often recommended by judges, parties can be sent away to at least try it, and in some cases there can be financial penalties if a party has refused to consider ADR before issuing court proceedings.

“Whether you are a member of the public, work for charity or in the media, Impress is there to help you.”

Publishers who have signed on to the Impress Regulatory Scheme will continue to have free access to these services included in their membership.

You can find out more information about our specific services here.

How will these changes help?

Protecting the public

The British legal system was designed to ensure that everyone could have access to justice, no matter their status or financial situation.

Sadly, that is no longer the case. Huge costs mean only those privileged enough to have access to large amounts of money and time are able to hold prominent media organisations to account when they misbehave.

With Impress’ dispute resolution services, they will have a new route to justice at a fraction of the cost posed by going to court.

Protecting publishers

But it will also make the defence against SLAPPs stronger for all news publishers.

At present, the mere threat of a costly court battle can be enough to intimidate outlets into taking a story down. Even if they are confident of being able to defend their work, they simply cannot afford even the initial fees involved in fighting a court battle.

Now all publishers will have the option to settle these disputes with powerful claimants in a timely manner without the prospect of being financially ruined by the process.

Protecting the work of charities

Impress also seeks to ensure that those working to make a difference in the world have access to affordable justice when they are wronged by the media or receive potentially costly legal action themselves.

That is why our new offering will include significant discounts for charities and non-profits should they require dispute resolution in the future.

Media enquiries

Louie Chandler: louie@impressreg.org.uk / 02033076778

About Impress 

Impress is a champion for news that can be trusted. We are here to make sure news providers can publish with integrity; and the public can engage in an ever-changing media landscape with confidence. We set the highest regulatory standards for news, offer education to help people make informed choices and provide resolution when disputes arise.