Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

More hacking claims 'to be settled'

Sienna Miller was the first to publicly settle her privacy and harassment claim

A number of well-known names are expected to settle their phone-hacking damages actions at the High Court.

Mr Justice Vos is due to hear the latest in a series of case management conferences ahead of a hearing in June, when compensation will be assessed in any outstanding claims in this second wave of the litigation.

In October, it was said that over 160 claims were currently on the register and more are still coming forward. Agreed statements involving around 15 claimants are likely to be read out to the judge.

In December, presenter Jamie Theakston, Jeff Brazier, the ex-boyfriend of the late Jade Goody, and Colin Stagg, the man wrongly accused of murdering Rachel Nickell, were among 22 claimants to accept offers of substantial damages.

Others were Lisa Brash, former girlfriend of Robbie Williams, golfer Colin Montgomerie's ex-wife Eimear Cook, and Major David Brooks, a relative by marriage of Mr Justice Vos.

In January last year, actor Jude Law headed a list of 37 people from all walks of life who settled their cases - with the star's compensation of £130,000 the biggest of the 15 awards disclosed.

Other payouts announced included £40,000 to former Labour deputy leader John Prescott, £50,000 to Law's ex-wife, designer Sadie Frost, and £30,000 to MP Chris Bryant. A year ago, singer Charlotte Church and her parents, James and Maria, settled their action for £600,000, including £300,000 legal costs, just days before it was to go to trial.

Actress Sienna Miller was the first to publicly settle her privacy and harassment claim - for £100,000 - in June 2011.

While News Group Newspapers, publisher of the defunct News of the World, has apologised and made payments in many cases, it maintains that the action brought by Elle Macpherson's former adviser, Mary-Ellen Field, should be struck out on the basis it was "fantasy".

Ms Field holds the group to blame for being dismissed from her job with Macpherson in November 2005 over 11 alleged instances of leaking information to the press. In December, the case was adjourned to enable her lawyers to apply for a deposition from Macpherson.

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