Home Estate Planning Publisher of the Daily Mirror to pay “substantial” costs to Prince Harry in settlement of phone hacking lawsuit

Publisher of the Daily Mirror to pay “substantial” costs to Prince Harry in settlement of phone hacking lawsuit

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Prince Harry has settled the remaining claims in his phone hacking lawsuit against the publisher of the Daily Mirror, two months after the paper was found to have hacked his phone.

Back in December, a High Court judge ruled that there was “extensive” phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) from 2006 to 2011, “even to some extent” during the Leveson Inquiry into media standards.

The judge awarded Prince Harry £140,600 during that ruling.

On Friday, his barrister, David Sherborne, told the court at a trial that the MGN will pay Harry “a substantial additional sum by way of damages” as well as his legal costs. This signals that he had settled the remaining parts of his phone hacking claim against publishers.

MGN will make a costs payment of about £400,000, with further costs to be assessed.

After it was announced Prince Harry had settled his claim, an MGN spokesperson said: “We are pleased to have reached this agreement, which gives our business further clarity to move forward from events that took place many years ago and for which we have apologised.”

The publisher of the Daily Mirror has also been ordered to pay the costs of part of a phone-hacking trial.

As well as the ‘representative’ claims brought by the Prince and three others against the publisher of the Daily and Sunday Mirror and the people, the trial last year also heard “generic” evidence about wider alleged wrongdoing at MGN.

In a ruling on Friday, Mr Justice Fancourt said the publisher should pay so-called “generic” legal costs to the more than 100 people currently involved in the legal action.

The judge said: “On the generic issues, there can be little doubt that the claimants were successful.”

“In this unusual case, justice is only done by awarding the claimants their costs of the generic issues,” he added.

The figure of costs is yet to be assessed, but the High Court previously heard the group of people who sued the publisher were currently seeking payment of £1,976,660 from MGN towards the legal costs of bringing those allegations to court.

Prince Harry’s case was heard alongside similar claims brought by actor Michael Turner, who is known professionally as Michael Le Vell and is most famous for playing Kevin Webster in Coronation Street, actress Nikki Sanderson, and Fiona Wightman, the ex-wife of comedian Paul Whitehouse.

The claims brought by Sanderson and Wightman were dismissed by Mr Justice Fancourt because they were made too late, despite the judge finding that some of their complaints were proved.

Mr Justice Fancourt ruled on Friday that Sanderson and Wightman should pay MGN the legal costs of defending their individual claims.

The judge also ruled that Turner should pay MGN’s costs of responding to his claim from the date of 5 March 2022, where an offer was made.

Barrister David Sherborne of 5RB who represents the group has previously said decisions about the costs in Prince Harry’s case against the publisher are reserved until the rest of his claim is determined.

Harry sued MGN for damages, claiming journalists at its publications were linked to methods including phone hacking, so-called “blagging” or gaining information by deception, and use of private investigators for unlawful activities.

There are a further 115 articles in his claim after a sample of 33 were examined at the trial last year, which saw Harry enter the witness box, with 15 articles found to have been the product of unlawful information gathering.

Elsewhere, just last month, it was revealed that Prince Harry withdrew his High Court libel claim against the publisher of the Mail on Sunday.

He sued Associated Newspapers Limited over a February 2022 article about his legal challenge against the Home Office following a decision to change his publicly funded security arrangements when visiting the UK.

Press Association – Jess Glass

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