Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw told MPs today innocent people would not be cut off from the internet "willy nilly" as the Government cracked down on piracy.
Last month, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said persistent file-sharers could have their internet connections cut off for short periods, but only after a series of written warnings.
Singer Lily Allen recently issued a rallying call to fellow artists to back tough action, warning illegal file-sharing was making it harder for new acts to emerge.
Appearing before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Mr Bradshaw was asked whether suspected persistent file sharers faced with being cut off deserved to be able to prove their innocence in a court of law.
Mr Bradshaw said: "Yes, absolutely. The suspension to which you refer, which would be as a very last resort for serial and serious infringement, would be subject to a strict two-stage process.
"It wouldn't just happen on the basis of an accusation ... firstly there would need to be a court order for any of the technical measures."
Mr Bradshaw said a court order would come at the end of the process and would not be needed in the vast majority of cases. He said that secondly there would be a right of appeal.
He said he hoped there was not the impression that "innocent teenagers are going to be cut off willy nilly on the basis of an accusation. That is not our intention.".
He continued: "This is a problem which governments around the world have been grappling with ...
"I do not accept the argument that there should be anarchy on the internet, that everyone should be able to access what they like free of charge."
He said that to take no action over the issue would be "devastating" to the creative industry.
Mr Bradshaw was also asked by Conservative MP Philip Davies if reports that he had been rapped on the knuckles by Downing Street for criticising the BBC were true.
Last month Mr Bradshaw told the Royal Television Society's (RTS) Cambridge Convention the BBC had probably reached the limits of reasonable expansion and suggested the BBC Trust - its governing body - should eventually be scrapped.
Mr Bradshaw told the hearing: "I can assure you I did not receive a rap on the knuckles."
He added: "I worked very closely with Number 10 on my RTS speech.
"I think there is a genuine concern in Number 10, and I have this too, at the moment it's almost impossible for anyone to say anything about the BBC without it being reported in a critical way."
Mr Bradshaw said his RTS speech was by and large a "very robust defence of the BBC and public service broadcasting".
He said the atmosphere appeared to be "open season" on the BBC: "But like all organisations in order to survive it needs to change and I think the BBC itself is recognising that."
Mr Bradshaw has also called for the BBC to allow the National Audit Office access to its accounts.
He told the committee the corporation was making some "encouraging noises" and said he would much rather the issue was resolved between the two organisations themselves to the satisfaction of both.
He continued: "But I've also made quite clear that if that doesn't happen that this is an issue that is bound to come up in the context of the next charter review ... but I would hope that it can be resolved long before that."
He later reiterated his view that as a model of regulation, the BBC Trust was unlikely to stand the test of time.
"As we move towards a different broadcasting landscape I think that will probably call for a different regulatory structure. I don't have a clear view as to what that should be."
He added: "I want to see a structure where the BBC robustly defends itself more effectively than it has done but at the same time where it is properly regulated."
Questioned on whether he believed the BBC would perform better under an external regulator which was separate to the BBC, Mr Bradshaw replied: "Yes".
Asked if this could be the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom, he said: "Possibly, yes. Possibly a separate public service regulator. But again, I wouldn't want to be prescriptive about models."Reuse content