Appeal lodged with charity tribunal against decision to refuse charitable status to the Independent Press Regulation Trust

The trust, created to provide financial assistance to the Impress Project, an incubator body for a new press regulator, was denied charitable status by the Charity Commission in May

Charity tribunal
Charity tribunal

An appeal has been lodged with the charity tribunal against the Charity Commission’s refusal to register a trust that was created to provide financial and other assistance to a new press standards regulator that is yet to be established.

The Independent Press Regulation Trust, which is intended to support the creation of a press regulator by a group of writers and philanthropists known as the Impress Project, was refused charitable status in May last year.

The IPRT then asked for a review of the decision. In October, the commission announced that it had upheld its decision on review, saying: "The commission is not in a position to judge whether financial assistance towards the establishment of a body set up by the Impress Project is charitable unless and until such time that it is established and recognised as an independent press regulator."

In March 2013, a royal charter on press self-regulation ordered the creation of a panel to certify whether prospective regulators met standards set out in the Leveson Inquiry on the role of the press. The Press Recognition Panel has been set up but is not yet operational, which means there is not yet a clear definition of what will be considered a Leveson-compliant regulator.

An appeal against the decision was lodged on 9 December by Wilfrid Vernor-Miles, a solicitor and trustee of the IPRT. He has since been joined in the appeal by two other people, although Vernor-Miles declined to say what their involvement was or make any other comment on the case.

A directions document published by the tribunal last week says that the appellants and the commission must agree upon the documents and witness statements that will be used in a tribunal hearing, which should last one and a half days and will take place in May or June.

In September, the Independent Press Standards Organisation was launched as a replacement for the disbanded Press Complaints Commission. However, IPSO, which is a community interest company, has not been supported by all the major national newspapers, and its chair has said on numerous occasions that it is not Leveson-compliant.

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