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

Well, yes. I hope it's reasonably there. I've taken the view that the complaints handling of the PCC was pretty good. It was cheap, it was quick. I reduced the timescale down to 35 days from complaint to getting an adjudication, and that was not perfect but it was okay. We set up an appeals procedure as well for those who weren't happy with the results, which I don't think was used very much.

There were, of course, much more difficult issues that came up from time to time. There were not so many of those as there ought to be, but they were important and they had to be dealt with, and whilst I thought that the complaints could be dealt with by an ombudsman type figure, I think the wider issues -- the McCanns, the Daily Mirror and the question of share tipping and things of that sort -- were bigger issues which you couldn't leave to one man to deal with, and therefore you need something greater for that.

But I also floated the idea in that letter, from my point of view, that what I thought was reasonably right to try to make section 12 work in the way that I thought it was going to work was that there could be an understanding between the PCC and the courts, whereas when somebody starts a legal proceedings for privacy with the courts, the judge would say, "Have you taken this case to the PCC? If not, why not?" And if there's a good explanation, accept it. If not: "I think it would be better if you went there first", and then come along and see what it was. The PCC could give an adjudication and I would not then stop anyone from taking it to the courts if they wanted to and the courts could decide what they were going to do about it.

By this means, it seemed to me self-regulation would be a stage one in a process which might end up in the courts if we couldn't find a practical solution.

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