Rebekah Brooks

Lord Leveson has decided that a contribution by former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks would not be relevant to the first part of the inquiry

Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA

Former chief executive of News International Rebekah Brooks has been denied core participant status in the first part of the Leveson inquiry.

Lord Justice Leveson published his decision today (14 September) on who would be granted the status,
which allows participants to be legally represented at the inquiry and have questions asked on their behalf.

Core partcipants for the first part of the inquiry include: News International, publisher of the now-defunct News of the World; Guardian News & Media, publishee of the Guardian, Northern & Shell; publisher of the Daily Express; the Metropolitan Police Service, and 46 individuals.

The first part of the inquiry, which looks at press standards as a whole – part two will focus on phone hacking and allegations of payments to police – has been divided into four modules:
  • The relationship between the press and the public
  • The relationship between the press and police
  • The relationship between the press and politicians
  • Recommendations on the future
In his reasoning for the decision not to grant the status to Brooks, Leveson said that while he understands the reason for her application, "it does not pay sufficient attention to the terms of Part I of the Inquiry which is to analyse the way forward in the light of the broad experience (not descending into the detail required by Part 2 of the inquiry) of the past".

"Mrs Brooks has very considerable knowledge and experience; I hope and believe that her input into the Inquiry will be of enormous value but, at this stage and in the context of what I am presently required to do, I do not consider that it is necessary or appropriate to designate her as a core participant.

"Had Mrs Brooks still been employed by News International Ltd, it may be that she would have co-ordinated its response; that responsibility now passes to someone else and I have no doubt that the views of NI Group Ltd will be clearly expressed.

"She will doubtless have strong views on each aspect of the inquiry but these views can still be expressed and are not necessarily of greater or lesser value than the views of editors of other broadsheet and tabloid papers."

He adds that he is prepared to consider further applications from Brooks in relation to future modules in the first part of the Inquiry "and will doubtless be guided to some extent by my experience of the first module".

According to Leveson, core participants also have the ability to seek to cross examine witnesses, although he added that it is likely he will "significantly limit, if not refuse" such applications.

"[I]t is important to emphasise that I do not consider that, for the purposes of Part 1 of this Inquiry, there need be a significant "bright line‟ between those who are designated as core participants and those who are not.

"In particular, the teach-in, or briefing sessions (save for the session dealing with interception of communications), the seminars and the evidence sessions will be fully transparent to the public.

"As much documentary material as can be made available will also be published on line. It is then open to anyone to submit evidence to the Inquiry, to attend the evidence sessions, and to suggest lines of questioning to counsel to the Inquiry."

He added that he may also consider allowing those who are not core participants to make written closing submissions.

Along with News International, Northern & Shell, publisher of the Daily Express, Sunday Express and Daily Star, Guardian News & Media and Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers were all granted core participant status across all four modules.

The acting commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Tim Godwin and the Metropolitan Police Service, itself have also been designated as core participants in all four modules.

A total of 46 alleged victims of phone hacking were also named as core participants in module one. In his reasoning Leveson added that each person would not be entitled to separate representation, instead given a single legal representative.

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