Cameron rules out government role
Furthermore, if a non-regulated paper is found to have breached a complainant's civil law rights then it could be considered to have 'shown wilful disregard of standards and therefore potentially lead to a claim for exemplary damages'
"I believe that these proposals in relation to costs should provide a powerful incentive for all publishers to want to be a part of such a self-regulatory system," he said.
However, the threat of legal costs should also work the other way around: "If an extremely wealthy claimant wished to force a newspaper publisher that was a member of the regulatory body into litigation (in the hope that the financial risk would compel settlement) it would be open to the publisher to argue that having provided a recognised low-cost arbitral route, that claimant, even if successful, should be deprived of costs, simply because there was another, reasonable and cheap route to justice which could have been allowed."
The incentives are necessary, argued Lord Justice Leveson, to encourage the British press 'to be willing to become part of what would be genuinely independent regulation'.
Legislation would have to be passed to give this legal effect, but this has nothing to do with the statutory regulation of the press: "The legislation would not establish a body to regulate the press: it would be up to the press to come forward with their own body that meets the criteria.
"The legislation would not give any rights to parliament, to the government, or to any regulatory (or other body) to prevent newspapers from publishing any material whatsoever," he went on.
However, the legislation would enshrine for the first time in British law 'a legal duty on the Government to protect the freedom of the press', along with laying down a process for recognising the new independent regulator.
"Despite what will be said about these recommendations by those who oppose them, this is not, and cannot be characterised, as statutory regulation of the press.
"What is being proposed here is independent regulation of the press, organised by the press with a statutory verification process to ensure that the required levels of independence and effectiveness are met.
Newspapers who refuse sign up for his proposed new body could face regulation instead by Ofcom, the regulator which currently rules on standards in the TV industry.
"It would be a great pity if last-ditch resistance to the case for a measure of genuine independence in oversight of standards of behaviour of the press, or the intransigence of a few resulted in the imposition of a system which everyone has said they do not want and which, in all probability, very few others would actually want to see in place," he declared.