Dispute process

Before contacting the Office about a dispute, please read the following advice.

If you feel your dispute meets the criteria below, download and complete the dispute form available at the bottom of the page.

In this section

What constitutes a dispute?

It is important for parties to distinguish between a Dispute and a complaint. The Adjudicator's Office cannot directly respond to complaints; however the Office will pass on any complaints to Ofcom if it deems it appropriate.

The CRR Adjudicator Scheme

The following procedure is designed for those Advertisers or Media Buyers who wish to take a Dispute with Carlton / Granada to the Office of the Adjudicator. The resolution of the Dispute by the Adjudicator is governed by the CRR Adjudicator Scheme and Rules under the undertakings made by Carlton and Granada to the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. This note is for guidance only. For further details on the adjudication process refer to the Scheme or Rules.

Before a Dispute is brought to the Adjudicator, there must be evidence that every attempt has been made to reach agreement with Carlton/Granada on the area of dispute.

The Adjudicator Office expects all parties involved to maintain confidentiality throughout proceedings.

Process for resolution of disputes by the Adjudicator

Step 1.
Select the Dispute form: The Notice of Adjudication.

Step 2.
Fill out all relevant sections of the form. It is essential that the case is made clearly, supported by all relevant facts and evidence. A Notice of Adjudication with no evidence to back up claims will not be considered. The final position that both parties have reached in the negotiation, before the Dispute is referred to the Adjudicator, should be made clear. The latest contract offer and any other relevant documents to support the case should also be included with the Dispute form.

Step 3. Once the form is completed, either e-mail it to The Adjudicator at adjudicator@ofcom.org.uk, or send it toThe Office of The Adjudicator at Riverside House, 2a Southwark BridgeRoad, London, SE1 9HA.

At the same time a copy of the Notice of Adjudication and all accompanying documents must be sent to Carlton and/or Granada. Copies of the accompanying documents sent to Carlton and/or Granada with the Dispute form may be redacted for reasons of commercial confidentiality - but, if so, the Adjudicator must be told.

Step 4.
The Adjudicator shall confirm in writing to all the parties within two working days of receiving the Notification of Adjudication whether or not he will act.

He may consider the Notice of Adjudication discloses no reasonable grounds for him to act. He may consider that it would be an abuse of the CRRA Scheme and / or the CRRA Rules for him to determine the Dispute. If the Adjudicator does not act, and he considers it appropriate, he may issue a written, reasoned decision to the parties.

Step 5.
If he will act on the Dispute, Carlton / Granada shall respond within 5 working days of the Adjudicator's receipt of the Dispute form, by sending a Dispute response form (Notice of Reply) to the Adjudicator.

Step 6.
The Adjudicator will consider both sides of the Dispute and may seek further information from either party. He will also give an approximate date for his decision. He shall give his decision as soon as possible, and not later than the deadlines specified in the CRRA Rules:
a) 15 working days after the date of the Notice of Adjudication; or
b) 20 working days after the date of the Notice of Adjudication, if the applicant consents to an extension; or
c) a longer period if all parties agree.

Step 7.
The Adjudicator will make his decision - which will usually consist of "Yes" or "No" as to whether the terms offered by Carlton / Granada are fair and reasonable - and send this in writing to the parties simultaneously. The decision will include a summary of the reasons behind the decision as appropriate.

Step 8 a).
If the Adjudicator rules against the Advertiser or Media Buyer then they can consider whether to appeal the decision to Ofcom; they should consider the guidance that Ofcom will produce on the grounds on which it will entertain an appeal. The Advertiser or Media Buyer can also take contractual disputes to court in the normal way. Alternatively they could revert back to their protected contract or decline to buy airtime from Carlton / Granada ('take a holiday') subject to these options being compatible with their existing contractual obligations.

Step 8 b).
If the Adjudicator rules for the Advertiser or Media Buyer, Carlton / Granada must make a new offer. The new offer must present the claimant with 'fair and reasonable' terms.

Step 9.
If the Advertiser / Media Buyer is not satisfied with any new offer, then they can re-apply to The Office of Adjudicator and the process will recommence.

» Download the Dispute form: The Notice of Adjudication