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Ministers set up Scottish "Leveson" panel

13 December 2012

Lord McCluskey, the retired Court of Session judge, is to head a five-person panel appointed by the Scottish Government to consider the recommendations of the Leveson report in Scotland.

The panel has been asked to consider the findings and certain recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson, in particular how statutory underpinning of a new independent system of self-regulation of the press could work in Scotland.

Members apart from Lord McCluskey are David Sinclair, Director of Communications at Victim Support Scotland, former President of the National Union of Journalists and former assistant editor of The Herald; Professor Neil Walker, Regius Professor of Public Law and the Law of Nature and Nations at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh; Peter Watson, senior partner of Glasgow solicitors Levy & McRae and Visiting Professor at the School of Law, University of Strathclyde; and Ruth Wishart, independent media production professional and former assistant editor of the Sunday Mail, Scotsman and Sunday Standard.

The group's terms of reference are:

"To consider the findings and recommendations made in part 1 of the report of the Leveson Inquiry in respect of Press Regulation, and, accepting the main principles on which those recommendations are made, including in particular the need for statutory underpinning of a newly created, genuinely independent and effective system of self-regulation, to offer advice and recommendations as to the most appropriate means of achieving such statutory underpinning in Scotland, in the context of –

  • the Scottish legal system;
  • any other existing provisions in law that relate to publication by the press in the UK;
  • any developments in press regulation elsewhere in the United Kingdom arising out of the Leveson inquiry;
  • experience in regulation of the press outside of the United Kingdom, that might inform consideration of the recommendations made and the mechanisms suggested in the part 1 report of the Leveson Inquiry;
  • and to provide such advice and recommendations to the Scottish Government within three months.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “Press regulation is a devolved responsibility, there have been victims of press malpractice in Scotland, and Scotland has its own unique legal system.

“It is therefore unarguable that we in Scotland need to make our own response to the recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson in his report – particularly on the proposal for statutory underpinning in Scots law of a new, independent self-regulation system for the press.

“This expert panel will offer advice on the most appropriate way to approach such statutory underpinning in Scotland, bearing in mind our legal system, developments elsewhere in the United Kingdom, and experience internationally. What happens thereafter will be a matter for the Parliament.”

Mr Salmond described the group as "a balanced panel that features experts in Scots law, respected journalists, legal practitioners and someone with a background in supporting those affected by crime and malpractice. This group of experts is independent and non-political and is chaired by a former Court of Session judge".

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