IMPRESS Announces Arbitration Panel

IMPRESS has now started to receive requests for arbitration under its scheme. As a central plank of IMPRESS’s regulatory scheme, arbitration is offered to solve civil disputes between publishers and claimants. Arbitration is an alternative to litigation and the IMPRESS arbitration rules offers publishers and members of the public greater cost certainty and protection against prohibitive legal costs, as well as timely resolutions to legal disputes.

IMPRESS has announced the first six arbitrators to be appointed to its panel by the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb), the leading non-profit body in the field of arbitration. The arbitrators are all experienced lawyers who have been appointed on the basis of their knowledge and experience of both arbitration and media law. All panel members are fellows of CIArb. This demonstrates their competence in arbitration through professional training and practical experience of chairing arbitration hearings and writing awards.

  • Jane Mulcahy QC is a barrister at Blackstone Chambers in London. She was called to the bar in 1995 and appointed as silk in 2014. Jane acts in disputes concerning reputational issues, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and undue influence. Jane has taught Media Law to undergraduate journalists at City University and was herself a journalist before coming to the bar.
  • Malcolm Holmes QC is an international arbitrator and lawyer at 20 Essex Street Chambers. He was appointed QC in 1991. Malcolm has significant media law experience particularly in defamation.
  • Clive Thorne is solicitor and arbitrator in intellectual property and media law. He is Special Counsel at Baker Botts law firm. Clive has significant experience handling claims for copyright infringement, passing off, defamation, malicious falsehood, breach of confidence and breach of contract.
  • Chris Ryan is an experienced lawyer with a background in intellectual property, including confidential information, malicious falsehood and defamation. Since 2004, Chris has sat as a part time judge in the First tier Tribunal (Information Rights). The Tribunal decides appeals from decisions on freedom of information by the Information Commissioner.
  • Ian Ridd was called to the bar in 1975 and is a barrister at Farrar’s Building in London. Ian is a commercial and civil law practitioner with a broadly based practice in commercial litigation and arbitration, defamation, privacy, employment, professional negligence and professional disciplinary and regulatory work.
  • Gerald Simpson QC was called to the Inner Bar in 1999. He has significant media law experience. He has acted for media organisations including the BBC and Independent News and Media (NI) in defamation, data protection, and misuse of private information matters.

Jane Mulcahy QC said: “I am delighted to be appointed to the IMPRESS arbitration panel. In my experience, arbitration can offer an effective route to resolve legal disputes. It works well in other industries and through the IMPRESS scheme it can now work well for news publishing.”

The IMPRESS/CIArb scheme relates to civil claims between a claimant and a participating publisher for defamation; breach of confidence; misuse of private information; malicious falsehood; and harassment. The scheme does not cover pre-publication matters, which seek to prevent publication. When a claim for arbitration is lodged, IMPRESS will assess whether it is suitable for arbitration. If so, CIArb will appoint an arbitrator from the IMPRESS panel.

Arbitration is a private dispute resolution process and IMPRESS will not comment on any claims made under its arbitration scheme, other than to publish a final award on its website within seven days of the communication of the award to the parties. The arbitrator may, however, decide to hold an arbitration hearing in public after hearing representations from the parties about whether it should be held in public or private.

In its annual report, the first of which will be published in summer 2017, IMPRESS will provide aggregated data on the number of requests received for arbitration, and a list of all concluded arbitrations.

More information on the arbitration panel is available at