News: Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881 to be repealed

19 04 2015

General Stock - NewspapersIn September 2011 we had a post about the strange anachronism which is the Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881.  This places a duty on newspapers to register with Companies House. – but one which does not apply to newspapers published by companies.

In 2009 there were 57 registered newspapers including “War Cry” and the “Morning Star” – with four having been registered since the present version of the register came in on 1 January 1901.

In our post we said

“The registration requirement under the 1881 Act appears to be a strange anachronism – harking back to the day of newspaper licensing.   It is difficult to see the utility of these registration requirements – particularly as they do not apply to most newspapers”.

The Government has now, finally, caught up with this anachronism.  On 16 April 2015 it was announced that as from 26 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 of proprietor.

This change was made under  the Deregulation Act 2015 which makes provision for legislation which is no longer of practical use to cease to apply. As a result, Sections 7 to 18 and Schedule A and B of the Newspaper Libel and Registration Act 1881 will be revoked on 26 May 2015.  It was noted that

The majority of UK newspapers are now incorporated as companies under the Companies Act 2006 and therefore the requirement for the Registrar of Companies to hold a register of newspaper proprietors is repealed.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. The Act applies to newspaper proprietors registered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Act does not apply to Scotland.

With effect from 26 May 2015 there will no longer be a requirement for a newspaper not incorporated as a company to file an annual return (form NLR1) or notify a change of proprietor (NLR2) in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.


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One response

19 04 2015
Andy J

Techncially speaking the Act itself is not being repealed. Ss 1, 4, 19 and 20 appear to remain in force. Admittedly, of those which remain, only s 4 appears to have any practical legal purpose, in Northern Ireland at least.

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