Antiquated Registration of Newspaper Titles to be Repealed by the Deregulation Act 2015
29 April 2015
The Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881 introduced a system of registration for newspaper titles that were not registered as companies. The effect of registration was to provide information regarding the name and address of proprietors of newspaper titles for the purpose of enabling libel suits to be brought against them. The 1881 Act placed a duty upon newspapers to register with Companies House; however, this duty did not extend to newspapers published by companies.
In 2009, there were fifty seven registered newspapers, but only four were registered since the present version of the register came in on 1st January 1901. The registration requirement under the 1881 Act became outdated as the requirements no longer applied to the majority of newspapers run as companies formed and registered under the Companies Act 2006. The Deregulation Act 2015 makes provision to reduce the burdens imposed upon businesses, organisations and individuals arising from legislation and the exercise of regulatory functions as well as provision to repeal legislation which no longer has any practical use. Newspapers registered as companies are not required to register their details under the 1881 Act, and therefore, the registration requirements no longer serve a purpose. Sections 7 to 18 and Schedule A and B of the Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881 will be revoked on 26th May 2015.
The majority of UK newspapers are now incorporated as companies under the Companies Act 2006. As such the current requirement for the Registrar of Companies to hold a registrar of newspaper proprietors shall be repealed. The current provisions require proprietors of newspapers not registered as companies to file an annual return with Companies House and notify the registrar of changes. On 16th April 2015, the UK Government announced that there would no longer be a requirement for a newspaper not incorporated as a company to file an annual return or notify a change of proprietor. The Act applies to newspaper proprietors registered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; however, it does not apply in Scotland.
From 26th May 2015, there will no longer be a requirement for a newspaper not incorporated as a company to file an annual return or notify a change in proprietor in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Section 4 of the Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881, inquiry by court of a summary jurisdiction as to libel being for public benefit or being true, will remain in place for Northern Ireland.
For more information please contact Olivia O'Kane.