ASA under pressure to appoint judge as chief

The Advertising Standards Authority, due to defend one of its rulings in the High Court next month, is being urged to appoint a retired judge as its next chairman to fend off further legal challenges.

The Advertising Standards Authority, due to defend one of its

rulings in the High Court next month, is being urged to appoint a

retired judge as its next chairman to fend off further legal

challenges.



Pressures on the ASA to reform are growing from within the Institute of

Practitioners in Advertising, which says it expects growing numbers of

agencies and advertisers to take the authority to court if rulings go

against them.



’For every one case that comes to court, another ten are being

considered,’ an industry source said.



The latest challenge is due to be heard on 10 November when the

International Fund for Animal Welfare will ask a High Court judge for a

judicial review of an ASA order that it should pull an ad urging an end

to Canadian tinned salmon sales in the UK.



The ASA upheld a complaint by Tesco against the ad that called on the

supermarket to stop selling the product as a protest against the alleged

clubbing to death of seals by Canadian fishermen.



Philip Clark, an IFAW executive, said: ’The ASA is using a commercial

measuring stick to measure non-commercial advertising.’



At the next meeting of the Committee of Advertising Practice, the body

responsible for drawing up the UK’s ad rules, Philip Circus, the IPA’s

legal affairs director, will suggest following the example of Ireland

and Australia by having a former judge at the head of the ASA.



At the same time, he will press for the setting up of an independent

body of widely respected people to rule on disputed ASA

adjudications.



Circus said: ’Advertisers are less prepared to take ASA rulings on the

chin. But if the ASA had a former judge presiding over its

deliberations, a lot of advertisers would be restrained from challenging

them.’



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