Leveson witnesses are warned what to expect as report is finalised

Politicians and media prepared, but judge must be careful not to prejudice future trials

All those lined up for criticism by Lord Justice Leveson have now been warned what to expect in his final report, The Independent understands.

In a sign that the long-running inquiry into press standards is nearing completion, inquiry sources said letters had now gone out to all witnesses likely to be censured.

Those concerned – who have not been named – now have several weeks to respond to the charges against them before the final report is published. This is now expected to be towards the end of October.

The early disclosure of what are known as Section 13 notices could open the way for David Cameron to move Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, in a reshuffle expected for early September.

There had been concern in Downing Street that they would not know what – if any – criticism Mr Hunt was likely to face by the inquiry before the reshuffle, making it harder to move him to another job.

However, if he has been cleared of any serious wrongdoing by Leveson, Mr Cameron will now have the leeway to promote Mr Hunt safe in the knowledge that he will not be forced to resign at a later stage.

While it is not known which, if any, senior figures at News International will be criticised, any censure at all will cause difficulty for the judge. With police investigations still ongoing and some charges already laid, Leveson will have to ensure that any criticism does not prejudice future trials.

In their final submission to Leveson last month, lawyers for Rebekah Brooks urged the judge not to make specific criticisms of News International that could impede her chance of a fair trial: "In the case of Mrs Brooks, we would wish the Inquiry to bear in mind that… any adverse findings in relation to phone hacking at the News of the World are likely to have a detrimental effect on her credibility and character. We invite the Inquiry neither to name her nor to provide sufficient detail from which to identify her in respect of any unlawful or unethical conduct that it finds to be established."

Of wider concern to sections of the press are fears that Leveson will recommend some form of statutory legislation regulation in his final report. The Independent understands that behind the scenes, editors and newspaper groups have been lobbying both David Cameron and Nick Clegg to resist calls for statutory legislation – even if it is proposed.

However, with Labour expected to back the move, the room that the Government has for manoeuvre may be limited.

In its final submission to Leveson, News International argued that there remained "principled constitutional objections to any element of Parliamentary or statutory control over the freedom of the press".

"It may well be posited that, if the press are the guardians, someone should have the power to guard them," lawyers for the group wrote.

"But, the chain of guardianship has to come to an end at some point. Both history and principle argue that at the end of the chain there should be found the traditionally disparate, unruly and iconoclastic characters who make up the press and wield only their pens, in preference to a body created or recognised by statute and, almost inevitably, staffed by the usual cadre of powerful but unelected and unaccountable establishment figures who populate quangos up and down the land."

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments