Coulson loses legal fees battle
Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson has lost a High Court action against his ex-employer over its refusal to pay legal fees arising from the phone-hacking affair.
Mr Coulson, 43, who was not in court, sued News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers (NGN) over the construction of a clause within a severance agreement from his resignation in February 2007.
He asked Mr Justice Supperstone for a declaration that NGN, which stopped reimbursement in August, "must pay the professional costs and expenses properly incurred" by him "in defending allegations of criminal conduct" during his tenure.
Mr Coulson, who was arrested in July over the allegations and released on bail, has always denied any wrongdoing. He resigned from his position as Prime Minister David Cameron's director of communications in January, saying that coverage of the scandal was making it too difficult for him to do his job.
Christopher Jeans QC, for NGN, said the clause covered the "occupational hazards of being an editor" and not alleged criminal activity.
Dismissing the claim, the judge said the agreement did not cover the criminal allegations made against Mr Coulson personally and if, contrary to his view, the criminal allegations were covered, no proceedings had commenced. He ordered Mr Coulson to pay NGN's costs and refused him permission to appeal, although he can renew his application directly to the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire won his High Court action against NGN over his legal fees.
Mulcaire, who was jailed for six months in 2007 for intercepting messages on royal aides' phones, had sued NGN for breach of contract.
He said he could not fund his legal defence or pay costs or damages incurred in the civil hacking litigation - due to start in February - and asked for a declaration that NGN had no right to terminate an alleged June 2010 indemnity.
NGN argued that Mulcaire's demand for £750,000 in return for his co-operation over the proceedings negated the offer. Mulcaire was not in court in London for the ruling by the Chancellor of the High Court, Sir Andrew Morritt.