Dealing with the Advertising Standards Authority
Produced in partnership with Paul Jordan and Tim Heaps of Bristows LLP
Dealing with the Advertising Standards Authority

The following Risk & Compliance practice note produced in partnership with Paul Jordan and Tim Heaps of Bristows LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Dealing with the Advertising Standards Authority
  • Who/what is the ASA
  • Statutory regulatory objectives
  • The ASA complaints process
  • Notification
  • Your response
  • Informal resolution
  • Formal investigations
  • Making your case
  • Evaluation—draft recommendation
  • More...

Who/what is the ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all forms of media. The ASA is responsible for applying and enforcing the Advertising Codes of Practice.

The ASA Council is the ultimate decision making body that determines whether advertisements comply with the Codes of Practice. You should only encounter the ASA Council if you enter the final stages of the complaints process.

For further details visit

Statutory regulatory objectives

The regulatory framework in the UK is developed by two committees:

  1. the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), and

  2. the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP)

The committees are responsible for developing the Codes of Practice ultimately enforced by the ASA.

CAP is responsible for devising the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising (CAP Code) and BCAP writes the UK Code for Broadcast Advertising. (BCAP Code). For the full version of each Code, visit

For more guidance, see Practice Note: Advertising law and regulation.

The ASA complaints process

The ASA website has a facility to accept complaints from consumers and industry, ie other advertisers or competitors. The process for dealing with complaints is shown below:


On receiving a complaint, the ASA will consider your advertising material against the applicable Code of Practice. If the ASA considers there may be a breach of the relevant code or if further information is required, the ASA will contact the advertiser.

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