What it is it was a public, judge-led inquiry set up by Prime Minister DavidCameron to examine the culture, practice and ethics of the press. It was established in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at thenow-defunct News of the World tabloid. Lord Justice Leveson has made recommendations on the future ofpress regulation.
What did it look at ? It looked at the relationship between the press and the public,including phone-hacking and other potentially illegal behaviour,and at the relationships between the press and the police and thepress and politicians.
What did lord Levesonrecommend? He made broad and complex recommendations relating to howthe press is regulated: Newspapers should continue to be self-regulated - and thegovernment should have no power over what they publish. There had to be a new press standards body created by theindustry, with a new code of conduct That body should be backed by legislation, which would create ameans to ensure the regulation was independent and effective The arrangement would provide the public with confidence thattheir complaints would be seriously dealt with - and ensure thepress are protected from interference.
Will his recommendation beimplanted ? Prime Minister David Cameron had reportedly promised to implementthe recommendations, providing they were not "bonkers". But withinhours of the reports publication, he said that he was not convincedlegislation underpinning self-regulation was right. Mr Cameron then warned the press the "the clock is ticking" for themto introduce a self-regulation system with the tough powers set out byLord Justice Leveson. "That means million-pound fines, proper investigation of complaints,prominent apologies," he said. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says he backs Leveson, highlightinga split within the coalition government. Labour leader Ed Miliband hasurged the government to accept the report in its entirety.
How was the inquiry conducted ? Witnesses during eight months of hearings included alleged victims of pressintrusion, journalists, newspaper executives and proprietors, police,communications advisers and politicians. They were called to give evidence under oath at the Royal Courts of Justice incentral London. Legally, they could have been compelled to attend. In some cases, specific evidence about phone-hacking allegations was notheard, to avoid prejudicing on-going criminal investigations. Up to 30 June 2012, the last set of published costs, the inquiry had cost £3.9m.An inquiry spokesman has estimated that the overall cost of the inquiry so farcould reach £5.6m.
Who is justice Leveson ? Lord Justice (Sir Brian) Leveson became a barrister in 1970 and a QC16 years later. He was made a High Court judge in 2000 and appointed to the Courtof Appeal in 2006. As chairman of the Sentencing Council, a positionhe still holds, he is responsible for criminal sentencing policy inEngland and Wales. Lord Justice Leveson led the prosecution case against serial killer RoseWest, who was jailed in 1995 for the murder of 10 women and girls,and was the judge during the 2006 trial following the killing of 10-year-old London schoolboy Damilola Taylor.
Is their going to be any furtherLeveson inquiries? The Leveson Inquirys terms of reference includes a second phase, looking atthe extent of unlawful or improper conduct within News International andother media organisations, and how the police investigated allegations. This is due to take place once all legal proceedings are completed - police arecurrently carrying out three investigations looking into phone hacking,computer hacking and payments made to public officials by journalists. Severaljournalists and others have been charged under these investigations and aredue to stand trial. However, in May 2012 Lord Justice Leveson released a statement questioningthe value to be gained from a Part 2, given the "enormous cost", the fact thatmaterial will be years out of date by then, and that it could take longer thanthe first inquiry.