Lawyer who took Rupert Murdoch's News International to court over hacking complains of 'bully boy tactics' over possible counter-claim

Mark Lewis talks of 'pay back' exercise after learning that UK division of Murdoch empire is considering seeking 'wasted costs'

The lawyer instrumental in exposing phone hacking at the News of World is now being pursued by Rupert Murdoch's News International (NI) over the way he conducted a two year-long damages claim against the company, the High Court has heard.

Mark Lewis, who has represented some of the most high profile victims of phone hacking, including the Dowler family and singer Charlotte Church, and is still involved in legal actions against Murdoch-owned titles, said outside the courtroom that NI is now engaging in a "pay back" exercise because of the way "substantial wrong-doing" inside the NOTW had been exposed.

He accused NI of resorting to "bully boy tactics" after learning inside the courtroom that the UK division of the Murdoch empire is  considering seeking "wasted costs" from his law firm, Taylor Hampton, over the way he handled the claim of Mary Ellen Field, the former business adviser to the Australian supermodel, Elle Macpherson.

The unusual legal action - which effectively accuses Mr Lewis of improper, unreasonable and negligent conduct and could involve Taylor Hampton paying a significant part of NI's "substantial" costs -  came as Ms Field discontinued her two year fight against News Group Newspapers (NGN), the UK print division of the Murdoch empire which published the now-defunct NOTW.

Mr Lewis has been Ms Field's legal representative since 2011 when she launched a civil action against the News of the World and the private investigator Glen Mulcaire.

She claimed the illegal hacking practices used by the NOTW against Ms Macpherson resulted in her being wrongly blamed as the source of numerous stories which appeared in the Sunday tabloid between 2002 and the conviction of two NOTW employees over hacking offences in 2007.

Ms Field claimed the Australian model-turned-businesswoman had accused her of being an alcoholic, forced her to attend a rehab clinic in the United States, and later fired her from a business role.

Dinah Rose QC, counsel for NGN, told the judge, Mr Justice Vos, that contrary to the claim's allegations there has "never been any evidence" that Ms Field's phone, or other phones where she left messages, were illegally accessed and that the NOTW were not responsible for the breakdown of the relationship between the two women.

Ms Rose confirmed that the company would be seeking "substantial" costs from Ms Field in line with the law on discontinued claims. The Mulcaire legal team are also seeking costs.

With Ms Field having no legal insurance, News International's costs spread over more than two years is likely to run to six figures and may leave her bankrupt.

Although News International is now questioning Mr Lewis's competency in a case they believe should never have been brought, The Independent has learned that NI made Ms Field a substantial offer last year to settle the case, including accepting that wrong-doing had occurred.

The offer is said to have been close to £40,000 and in line with the average pay-outs made during the first tranche of civil actions against NGN.

Ms Field's decision to abandon her claim was made two days before Mr Justice Vos was scheduled to hear an application by NI to have her claim struck out.

Her claim was regarded as potentially significant. During his inquiry into press practices and ethics, Lord Justice Leveson took evidence from Ms Field. He described her case as "collateral damage".

So far damages pay-outs by NI have been restricted to direct "victims" of hacking. Those adversely affected by phone hacking or whose lives have suffered because those close to them had been targeted by the NOTW, have not brought successful cases.

Mr Lewis told the judge that he had been given no advanced notice of NI's intention to seek "wasted costs" from Taylor Hampton.

Ms Rose told the court that News International would reserve their position over the next 21 days before making a final decision on whether or not they would financially target Taylor Hampton's handling of the Field case.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star