The Role of the Legal & Compliance Department
Compliance is a shared responsibility between the broadcaster's editorial teams and the programme-makers, with appropriate and timely advice from the legal & compliance department. Producers are required under their commissioning agreement to comply with the law, the Code and the Handbook and in doing so they must always comply with advice given by the legal and compliance department. This ensures that the programme is editorially robust while providing the best available legal and regulatory defences.
Channel 4 has an experienced and highly skilled team of programme lawyers and compliance advisors dedicated to advising across all Channel 4 content both pre and post broadcast and including any online support, promotional trails and related press.
The programme lawyers and compliance managers will provide legal, regulatory and editorial ethics advice across all Channel 4 content, including in relation to the Ofcom Code, libel, contempt and privacy. They will assist in the drawing up of specific guidelines and protocols for programmes and series and are instrumental in defending Channel 4 content where complaints are made to Ofcom and where litigation is threatened. Help them to help you by seeking advice at an early stage and throughout your project and by being candid with them and your commissioning editor about any issues so that they can be addressed promptly.
The legal & compliance department also provide training to internal staff and programme-makers and they are also the first point of contact with Ofcom and are involved in proactive lobbying on legal and regulatory changes affecting programme content.
If you need advice and you don't know who the programme lawyer is for your programme please ask your commissioning editor or call the legal & compliance department direct. Channel 4 also operates a Duty Lawyer system for programme advice out of hours. You can get advice 24/7 from the Duty Lawyer if your problem is urgent. The Duty Lawyer's contact details can be obtained from the Viewer Enquiries Department on the main Channel 4 telephone number.
If you are unclear about anything in this Handbook please seek advice from your commissioning editor and/or, as appropriate, a member of the Channel's legal & compliance department.
References to 'lawyer' throughout this document refer to a lawyer from Channel 4's legal & compliance department.