Lord Justice Leveson commissioned a series of teaching or briefing sessions to provide the Inquiry with key factual background by way of expert presentations with an opportunity for members of the Inquiry to ask questions.  The details of these sessions have now been announced on the Inquiry website.

The first session, which was closed, took place on 19 September 2011 and covered techniques of access to personal data. It covered the technicalities of intercepting phone calls, voicemails and email, and other means of access to private information. The session was commissioned to explain to the Inquiry the technicalities of phone hacking and other possible means of covert access to private information. It is not known which experts gave the presentations. A summary will be made public no doubt after consultation with the police.

The second session will cover “Current Media Law”.  It will take place at 2pm on Wednesday 28 September 2011 and will be given by Mark Warby QC. This will cover the existing legal framework governing the operation of the media, including the relationship between Articles 8 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, data protection, freedom of information, and the law relating to broadcasting, both at UK and at applicable European level.

The third session is to take place at 2pm on Wednesday 5 October 2010 and will cover the “Current regulatory system” including its scope and limitations, the ideas and techniques underlying them, and the forms that they currently take. It provides an overview of the full range of regulatory approaches from self-regulation to detailed legal regimes, looking at models in use in a number of different areas, sectors and countries. The experts include Donald Macrae on the taxonomy of regulation Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive, on Ofcom regulatory models; David Smith, Deputy Commissioner and Director of Data Protection on how the Information Commissioner’s Office operates as a regulator; Guy Parker on how the Advertising Standards Authority operates as a regulator; Ian Woodman on how the Financial Ombudsman Service operates and Mark Thompson on international approaches to press regulation.  Details of the speakers and the timetable can be found here.

The briefings on Current Media Law and on Regulatory systems will be held in open session in Court 76 at the Royal Courts of Justice.  Transcripts will be accessible online on the Leveson Inquiry website.