We offer a formal reconsideration procedure which is open to any distributor dissatisfied with the age rating of their content (see ‘Stage One’ below). The reconsideration is free of charge and will normally take less than 10 working days.
Distributors should note that a reconsideration or an appeal involves looking at the issues afresh. This means that the outcome could, in some circumstances, be more restrictive than the original determination.
Stage One: Request for reconsideration by the BBFC
All requests must be made by email. Reconsideration requests will only be considered if the rating has not been accepted on the client portal, Horizon.
Provided the conditions set out below are met, a request for reconsideration may be made in respect of:
- The age rating awarded
- Any cuts or alterations required as condition of classification at a particular age rating (cuts for category); or
- Any cuts or alterations required regardless of age rating (compulsory cuts)
A company wishing to appeal against a decision to refuse an age rating should proceed directly to Stage Two
A reconsideration of the age rating awarded can be made up to 42 calendar days after receiving the age rating decision.
After this period the decision can only be revisited by making a fresh submission, with normal tariff fees applying. Requests to reconsider cuts must be made within 42 calendar days of receipt of the cuts list.
On receipt of a written request for reconsideration, we will ensure that the content, or the relevant parts, are viewed again, including by senior staff. The outcome of the reconsideration will be sent to the submitting company within 10 working days (subject to print availability in the case of film content), provided there is no need to seek views from legal and/or other external advisers. If this is required, such views will be sought and considered as soon as is reasonably practicable.
If a reconsideration results in a different age rating, the submitting company may be required to return paperwork previously issued by the BBFC before new paperwork can be issued.
Reconsideration decisions are final. A submitting company wishing to pursue the matter further must make use of the procedures set out in Stage Two.
Stage Two: Appeal to an independent authority
A submitting company which is dissatisfied with the outcome of a Stage One reconsideration by the BBFC, or whose work has been refused an age rating, may appeal to an independent authority.
Video (physical media)
If the content is classified under the Video Recordings Act 1984 then the appeal may be made to the Video Appeals Committee (VAC). The VAC was established by the BBFC under the provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1984. A distributor has 42 calendar days from the date of receiving notice of the BBFC’s determination (whether by means of the Interim Clearance Form (ICF) or otherwise in writing, including via the client portal, Horizon) in which to lodge an appeal. An appeal must be lodged with the VAC directly at the following address:-
Deputy Chief Executive
The Video Appeals Committee
3 Soho Square
Details of the VAC’s procedures and requirements are available below. An appeal fee of £5000 is payable, which is refundable in the event of a successful appeal. A copy of the content must be submitted to the VAC together with the initial request for appeal and the relevant payment. Once an appeal is lodged, the distributor should not return the ICF to the BBFC. If the work has been classified (ie the distributor has accepted the category on the client portal (Horizon) or signed and returned an ICF and received a certificate), no appeal may be heard.
The VAC provisions are available for download.
If a customer is dissatisfied with the age rating offered for a work it may, within 42 days of receipt of the offer, ask the BBFC to reconsider its decision under the BBFC’s reconsideration policy. Appeals under the Video Appeals Committee Provisions 1985 are not available for digital only (VOD) age ratings.
If the content is a theatrical release being classified under the Licensing Act 2003 then the appeal may be made to the local authority (or authorities) in whose area(s) the content is to be shown.
As a result of their role in licensing all public cinemas within their area, local authorities retain the right to vary a BBFC age rating decision, by raising or lowering the age rating, by waiving cuts, by requiring additional cuts, by permitting the showing of a film refused an age rating by the BBFC or by forbidding the showing of a film classified by the BBFC.