Legal deposit has existed in English law since 1662. It helps to ensure that the nation’s published output (and thereby its intellectual record and future published heritage) is collected systematically, to preserve the material for the use of future generations and to make it available for readers within the designated legal deposit libraries.
By advising in the development of appropriate policies and techniques the Joint Committee on Legal Deposit (JCLD) aims to ensure that legal deposit arrangements are implemented in a cooperative manner which avoid grounds for disagreement between a publisher and a deposit library. Nevertheless, such disagreements may still arise and the JCLD therefore supports a three-stage process for resolving disputes. The process is designed to encourage resolution by mutual consent wherever possible, but includes the option of referral to an independent arbitration panel if necessary.
This resolution process may be used for any legal deposit dispute or outstanding complaint, and by any relevant person including deposit libraries, mainstream publishers, independent publishers and individuals writing blogs or web pages:
Stage 1: Negotiation. Direct discussion between the two parties in dispute—the relevant publisher and requesting library—to explore the issue and resolve their differences. This may include referring the matter to the Implementation Group of the six deposit libraries, to JCLD technical experts, or to other JCLD members as appropriate, for their opinions and suggestions as to a mutually acceptable compromise.
Stage 2: Mediation. If resolution cannot be achieved by negotiation, the matter will be referred to a sub-group of the JCLD to mediate in an attempt to resolve the dispute. Conclusions and recommendations, with rationale, are documented, including any suggested compromises. However the sub-group may also conclude that mediation is unlikely to succeed and refer the matter on to arbitration.
Stage 3: Arbitration. If resolution cannot be achieved by mediation, the matter may be referred formally to an arbitration panel, composed of two publisher representatives, two library representatives and an independent chair appointed by the JCLD. Each party may make a written submission to the panel and should agree to be bound by its decision.