HACKED OFF: Reports of Government plans to repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013

Commenting on reports that the Government will seek to repeal section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 this year, a part of the Leveson framework for press regulation, Hacked Off Chief Executive Nathan Sparkes said,

The Government’s plan to attack the Leveson framework of press regulation fewer than 24 months out from a General Election must be recognised for what it is: a gift to the national press from a government desperate to secure favourable coverage for itself without a care for the interests of the public.

Section 40 was designed to shield regulated newspapers from costly lawsuits brought by the rich and the powerful, it is the only way to guarantee the freedom and accountability of the press, and it would put an end to wealthy oligarchs seeking to silence critical reporting with meritless legal claims.

An attempt to repeal it would be an assault on the freedom of independent newspapers, a sop to the SLAPP-ers, and show total disregard to the victims of press abuse as well as the wider public.

ENDS

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Christopher Whitmeyreply
May 10, 2022 at 7:07 pm

CCA Section 40(6):
“This section does not apply until such time as a body is first recognised as an approved regulator.”
The Explanatory Notes to the Act at 480 states: Subsection (6) makes transitional provision, to the effect that the section’s provisions do not apply until such time as a body is first recognised as an approved regulator.
Office of the Parliamentary Counsel – Drafting Guidance
10.6.17 A “transitional” provision manages the transition from one regime to another.
EXAMPLE A provision that spells out how the Bill works in relation to events or matters that span the end of the old regime and the start of the new regime.
Surely it is clear that the statutory intention is for s.40(6) to be brought into force when the first regulator was approved?
In context of the intent and purpose of CCA ss. 34-42 the true construction and meaning of s. 40(6) of ‘does not apply until such time as a body is first recognised as an approved regulator’ is no different in intent from ‘applies from such time as a body is first recognised as an approved regulator’. Even if the latter had been the wording it could not have been brought into force on the particular day because of prior needs of s. 40(4). Hence the word ‘transitional’ (OED: Of or relating to transition; characterized by or involving transition or change; intermediate.) in the Explanatory Note: see above.
Whose for crowdfunding a Judicial Review of the failure to bring it into force?

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