A last ditch attempt by newspaper and magazine publishers to get an injunction to prevent the UK Royal Charter on press regulation being signed off has been denied at the High Court.
PresBof – which represents the Newspaper Publishers Association, the Newspaper Society, the Scottish Newspaper Society and the Professional Publishers Association – was granted a hearing on Wednesday morning and it was argued that any decision on press regulation should be delayed until there was an outcome on a request for a judicial review of the rejection of the industry's alternative charter.
However, Lord Justice Richards and Justice Sales ruled against PresBof, enabling the cross-party Royal Charter to go in front of the Privy Council for the Royal seal of approval on Wednesday afternoon.
The industry representatives were also denied requests for a legal ruling stating that the approval of the Royal Charter would be overturned should a judicial review request be granted. A decision is due within weeks on the judicial review.
Niri Shan, media law expert and partner at international law firm Taylor Wessing, said: "This is undoubtedly a setback for the press but it represents the first salvo in what will be a long running battle between the press and politicians over press regulation. I expect the press will seek to appeal this decision to the highest court.
"It is also highly unlikely that the majority of the press will sign up to the Royal Charter and will instead set up a body of their own."
Brian Cathcart of campaign group Hacked Off said: "The Royal Charter is good for journalism, good for freedom of speech, and – vitally – good for the public. What Mr Murdoch and his friends are clinging to is the right to lie, twist, bully and intrude, inflicting misery on innocent people. That has to stop."
The rejection signals the final attempt by the press industry to prevent the Royal Charter becoming law but the standoff between government and industry continues, with the industry moving ahead with its plans to set up a self-regulation system called the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso).
However, reports have suggested that PresBof will attempt to have the case looked at again by the Court of Appeal this afternoon, despite the pre-scheduled Privy Council hearing on the Royal Charter going ahead at the same time.