The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

  • Good morning.

    Just before we start, Mr Jay, as we are looking at the BSkyB bid, could you help me: although I feel that I have a fairly good understanding of what a quasi-judicial process looks like, could you just focus my attention on the test -- I think it's contained within the Enterprise Act -- that the Secretary of State responsible for making the decision would have to consider?

  • Yes. Sir, the relevant time in relation to DCMS, we're considering the possibility of a referral to the Competition Commission. The position is different in relation to BIS at the anterior stage.

    But at Mr Hunt's stage, as it were, he has a discretion whether or not to refer, if in his reasonable opinion, a relevant public interest consideration arises, and the relevant public interest consideration for the purposes of this case is that specified under section 58(2)(b) of the Enterprise Act 2002 as amended, at least it's the primary one, and that relates to:

    "The need for the extent that it's reasonable and practicable as sufficient plurality of use in newspapers in each markets, the newspapers in the United Kingdom part of the United Kingdom is specified in this section."

    So that is the sole issue which the Secretary of State is bound by statute to consider for this purpose.

    As for quasi-judicial, I'm not going to say any more about that save to mention the relevant appearance of bias cases arising under common law in article 63 of the convention which is all very well known.

  • Yes, well, I'm familiar with those, but I must confess that that particular provision of the Enterprise Act had -- I don't say escaped my attention; not previously been brought to my attention, in a different context that is. Right.