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Church settles phone hacking claim

Charlotte Church has settled her phone hacking damages action against News of the World publisher News Group Newspapers (NGN) just days before it was to go to trial.

Lawyers confirmed that terms had been agreed and that 25-year-old Miss Church would attend a hearing at London's High Court on Monday for the reading of a statement.

That was the date on which Mr Justice Vos was due to consider a claim by the singer and her parents, James and Maria, that 33 articles in the now defunct Sunday newspaper were the product of hacking into voicemails.

The family alleged they had a negative impact on their business and on Mrs Church's health.

The judge was also expected to establish a compensation framework for future cases.

It is also understood that Monday's hearing will see the disposal of the five cases still outstanding of the 60 claims launched before October last year.

They are those of Elle Macpherson's former adviser, Mary Ellen Field, footballer Ryan Giggs, former royal butler Paul Burrell, police officer and Crimewatch presenter Jacqui Hames - and her husband David Cook - and public relations consultant Nicola Phillips.

The judge will also conduct a case management conference to determine how pending claims should be dealt with and, if necessary, fix a date for any future trial.

Earlier this month, he was told that a second wave of 56 new claims was in the pipeline - including those of singer James Blunt, soccer star Peter Crouch and his wife Abigail Clancy, politician Nigel Farage, footballer Kieron Dyer and Eimear Cook - ex-wife of golfer Colin Montgomerie.

NGN is also believed to be facing a claim from Cherie Blair after lawyers for the wife of former prime minister Tony Blair confirmed they have issued a claim on her behalf.

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