GROUNDS FOR APPEAL
Either party may appeal a substantive decision of the Press Ombudsman, or a decision of a sub-committee of the Press Council where the Press Ombudsman has exercised her power to refer a complaint directly to the Press Council, on one or both of the following grounds:
- The procedures followed in making the decision were not in accordance with the published procedures for considering complaints.
- That there has been an error in the Press Ombudsman’s or Press Council sub-committee’s application of the Principles of the Code of Practice.
- An appeal must be made in writing and be submitted to the Chairman of the Press Council to arrive not later than ten working days after the date of the Press Ombudsman’s decision on the complaint. Exceptionally, and on a case by case basis, requests for an extension to this timeframe will be considered by the Chairman.
- The appeal must be made under at least one of the two grounds stated above, and the ground(s) must be identified in the appeal.
- Details of the reasons to support the appeal in respect of each ground must be provided, and any supporting documentation will be considered as part of the appeal.
- Mere disagreement with the Press Ombudsman’s decision is not a ground for appeal, nor does it constitute an acceptable rationale for an appeal on any of the two stated grounds.
- A copy of the appeal shall be sent to the other party to the complaint within five working days of its receipt by the Chairman. The other party will be invited to submit any observations they wish to make on the appeal within ten working days. A copy of any observations received will be sent to the appellant for their information.
- The appeal shall be considered by the Press Council as soon as is reasonably possible after the time periods referred to in paragraph 5 above have expired.
- The appeal, any response made by the other party to the appeal and the complaint file shall be sent to the Press Council for the purposes of its consideration of the appeal.
- In considering the appeal, the Press Council shall proceed as follows:
8.1 At the beginning of each meeting to consider an appeal the Chairman will invite members of the Board who think that they may have a conflict of interest in relation to the appeal to identify the matter concerned. Unless the Board decides otherwise, any such member must leave the meeting when the Board is discussing or deciding the appeal, and this will be recorded in the minutes.
At the beginning of each meeting to consider an appeal each Council member, and anyone else present, must say if they have a conflict of loyalty in relation to the appeal. If the Council decides that this is sufficiently serious so as to be a conflict of interest, then it will be addressed in that context. Otherwise, the Council will decide that the declaration of a potential conflict of loyalty is sufficient and the member concerned may participate in the discussion and decision. The statement on the potential conflict of loyalty and the outcome of the decision on it will be recorded in the minutes.
8.2 The Press Council shall consider the appeal on each of the grounds relied upon in the appeal and on the information, documentation and submissions made by both parties to the appeal.
8.3 The Council shall decide whether to uphold or reject the appeal on each of the grounds relied upon in the appeal and shall specify the reason for its decision on each ground contained in the appeal. The Council may decide to reject an appeal on the basis that it did not contain sufficient evidence to support the grounds under which it was submitted.
8.4 The Council’s decision and the reasons for its decision shall be recorded in the minutes of the meeting.
Both parties to the complaint shall be advised in writing of the Press Council’s decision on the appeal, and the reason(s) for its decision. The decision and reasons for the decision shall also be published on the Press Council’s website.
Pending a final decision on an appeal, the appeal process and all documentation associated with the process shall be treated by all parties as confidential.
The procedures for consideration of appeals by the Press Council do not provide for oral hearings.
The Press Council reserves the right to review and amend these procedures when it deems appropriate.