Publisher Mirror makes £2m interim payment in ‘phone hacking’ dispute | News

The editor of the DailyMirror and the People agreed to make an interim payment of just over £2million due to costs accrued in the latest ongoing ‘phone hacking’ litigation, which has seen almost 600 claims settled so far.

Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) will pay £1.805 million in ‘common costs’ of the so-called third wave of claims brought over the collection of alleged unlawful news from its newspapers, the High Court ruled yesterday.

The publisher has also agreed to make another interim payment of £200,000 in relation to the costs of the fourth wave of litigation, 26 of which are now settled. There are still 85 “ongoing claims”, including one lodged by the Duke of Sussex, and there are “further new claims to follow”, the court heard.

Claimants’ solicitors have incurred costs, including VAT and possible success fees, of more than £5.5million for 78 claims against MGN which were settled in Wave Three, the solicitor said plaintiffs David Sherborne in written submissions. Nine other claimants have settled ahead of an abortive trial, which was due to take place last month, with their shares of joint costs totaling a further £1.7million, it added.

With regard to the fourth wave, costs of £1.084 million excluding VAT were incurred between December 2020 and last month, Sherborne said.

MGN has settled a total of 586 claims over the course of the litigation – 350 between 2015 and last year alone, according to court documents.

Last Friday, the publisher requested the expungement of 23 live claims on the grounds that “the limitation has clearly expired”. A hearing to determine these claims is expected to take place at a later date.

Litigation judge Judge Fancourt said any outstanding living claims trial could not take place until June 2023.

There has only been one lawsuit against MGN for illegal information gathering. It concluded in 2015 with eight claimants – including actress Sadie Frost and former England footballer Paul Gascoigne – being awarded a total of £1.2million in damages between them.

The hearing – and litigation – continues.