About the Copyright Tribunal


The main function of the Tribunal is to decide, where the parties cannot agree between themselves, the terms and conditions of licences offered by, or licensing schemes operated by, collective licensing bodies in the copyright and related rights area. It has the statutory task of conclusively establishing the facts of a case and of coming to a decision which is reasonable in the light of those facts. Its decisions are appealable to the High Court only on points of law. (Appeals on a point of law against decisions of the Tribunal in Scotland are to the Court of Session.)


Broadly, the Tribunal's jurisdiction is such that anyone who has unreasonably been refused a licence by a collecting society or considers the terms of an offered licence to be unreasonable may refer the matter to the Tribunal. The Tribunal also has the power to decide some matters referred to it by the Secretary of State and other matters even though collecting societies are not involved. For example, it can settle disputes over the royalties payable by publishers of television programme listings to broadcasting organisations.

The Tribunal's jurisdiction is defined in Sections 149, 205B and Schedule 6 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (as amended).

Copyright Tribunal members

The Tribunal consists of a Chairman and two deputy Chairmen who are appointed by the Lord Chancellor after consultation with the Scottish Minister, and not less than two, but no more than eight ordinary members appointed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry.

Administrative support

The Tribunal is administered by a Secretary, who is a civil servant working in the Intellectual Property Office.

Reviewed 13 May 2011