Law Pockets Pounds 130k as 37 Cases Settled; Newspaper Group Offers Its Apologies

Article excerpt

Byline: Jan Colley and Cathy Gordon

ACTOR Jude Law headed a list of 37 people from all walks of life who settled their damages cases arising from the phone-hacking scandal yesterday.

The star's compensation of pounds 130,000 was the biggest of 15 awards disclosed at London's High Court as Mr Justice Vos listened to 18 agreed statements being read out to a packed courtroom.

Three of the damages awards - including that made to footballer Ashley Cole - were not made public, but the tally, excluding those, reached a total of pounds 645,000.

In each case, Michael Silverleaf QC, for News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of the defunct News of the World, expressed its "sincere apologies" for the damage and distress caused.

Yesterday's developments mean that the majority of the 60 claims launched against NGN have been settled, with the company facing a bill for damages and costs running into millions.

It is expected that more statements will follow - but a hearing is set for February 13 to deal with 10 as yet unsettled cases, including that of singer Charlotte Church, and provide a compensation framework for cases that do not settle as well as any yet to be brought.

Mr Justice Vos, who will try the case, has described it as one "of great public importance".

Gavin Millar QC, for private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, emphasised that Mulcaire, who is also being sued for breach of confidence and misuse of private information, was not involved in agreeing the wording of the statements and was not a party to them. …