Sienna Miller yesterday declared victory in her phone-hacking damages claim against the News of the World after she accepted a £100,000 pay-out and an admission that the paper had used information from her voicemails to publish articles on her relationship with actor Jude Law.
Lawyers for the 29-year-old actress said she had been vindicated in her long-running High Court battle with Rupert Murdoch's News International after the Sunday title admitted liability for repeatedly hacking into her phones and causing her "enormous anxiety and distress" over a 12-month period.
But the unexpected deal, which will be finalised next week and includes an agreement by the NOTW to disclose to Ms Miller previously withheld documents outlining the extent of its wrongdoing, is also the first sign of success for the paper in its strategy to draw a line under more than 24 phone-hacking claims from public figures, including former Cabinet minister Tessa Jowell, actor Steve Coogan and MP George Galloway.
A further claim is expected to be made next week by James Hewitt, the former army officer best known for his affair with Princess Diana, who is to issue proceedings having been shown evidence by the Metropolitan Police. Last month News International offered an unreserved apology and an admission of liability in eight of the cases, including those of Ms Jowell and Ms Miller.
Yesterday's settlement will have important implications for the remaining claims if the NOTW successfully argues its six-figure pay-out to the actress, whose case was widely accepted to be one of the worst, is a "significant overestimate" of what she – or any other claimant – might have won in a full trial.
In the second day of a pre-trial hearing before Mr Justice Geoffrey Vos, lawyers for Ms Miller said they were happy to settle the claim because the NOTW had accepted all her complaints about the activities of the paper and its private investigator Glenn Mulcaire. Ms Miller's lawyers had put an upper limit of £100,000 on the compensation they were seeking.
As part of its deal, the NOTW will have to hand over internal documents covering the hacking of her three mobile phones between 2005 and 2006. News International denied the dossier included up to 8,000 emails – it is understood the number is a "fraction" of that.
Hugh Tomlinson QC, for the Factory Girl star, said: "Her primary concern is not how much money is awarded but to know exactly what the extent was of the hacking which took place and, having obtained an order which will enable her to know that – so far as it is knowable – that meets all her requirements from this action."
Ms Miller and her tempestuous relationship with Mr Law, who is also suing the NOTW, made her the subject of intense media scrutiny. Documents submitted to the High Court on behalf of the actress, and now accepted by the paper, state that information obtained by Mulcaire led to the publication of 11 articles about her.Reuse content