The Leveson Inquiry, the public inquiry into journalistic ethics
which was sparked by the phone-hacking scandal, is due to formally get
Justice Leveson Photo: AP
Lord Justice Leveson will launch hearings for the first part of his
investigation, which is looking at the culture, practices and ethics of
the press in general.
Counsel to the inquiry, Robert Jay QC, will begin the sessions today
with an opening statement.
He will describe how the inquiry came to be set up by Prime Minister
David Cameron in July after revelations that a private detective working
for the News of the World hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly
The eminent barrister is also expected to outline the terms of reference
and discuss how the inquiry will avoid prejudicing the ongoing police
investigation into the scandal and any future trials.
Mr Jay's statement will be followed by submissions from lawyers for the
''core participants'' of the inquiry, who are legally represented and
can ask to cross-examine witnesses.
There are more than 50 core
participants, including newspaper groups and people who have complained
about press intrusion, among them Milly's family, the parents of missing
Madeleine McCann, Hugh Grant and Harry Potter creator JK Rowling.
The first witnesses are not expected to be called until next week.
The hearings will be held in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice in
central London, with a separate annexe where the proceedings can be
followed via videolink.
Live video of all the sessions will also be streamed on the inquiry's
The Leveson Inquiry has already held a series of preliminary seminars
featuring high-profile speakers including Associated Newspapers
editor-in-chief Paul Dacre, who accused Mr Cameron of a ''cynical act of
political expediency'' by declaring regulator the Press Complaints
Commission a failed body.
The second part of the inquiry, examining the extent of unlawful
activities by journalists, will not begin until detectives have
completed their work and any prosecutions have concluded.
Lord Justice Leveson, a Court of Appeal judge, made private visits to
the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Echo in Southampton last
week to learn more about how newspapers operate.
He has been criticised for not appointing any representatives from the
tabloid or mid-market press to the panel of six experts who are helping
His advisors are former Financial Times chairman Sir David Bell, Liberty
director Shami Chakrabarti, former Ofcom chairman Lord Currie, former
Channel 4 News political editor Elinor Goodman, former Daily Telegraph
political editor George Jones and former West Midlands police chief
constable Sir Paul Scott-Lee.