Jude Law among lead hacking cases

Actor Jude Law's claim was named today as one of the lead cases in the News of the World phone-hacking litigation.

The other selected cases, which are due to be tried by Mr Justice Vos at the High Court in January next year, are agent Sky Andrew, interior designer Kelly Hoppen, football commentator Andy Gray and MP Chris Bryant.

The judge said the cases would enable him to decide the damages that were properly payable across a range of alleged factual situations, and make it possible for other cases to be resolved without the need for further hearings.

He added that the trial would cover the issues of "what was agreed to be done, by whom, for what purpose, over what period and who was involved".

The action arises out of the disclosure of information by the Metropolitan Police and Vodafone relating to material forfeited by private detective Glenn Mulcaire who, with News of the World reporter Clive Goodman, was jailed over royal phone taps in 2007.













The judge also named a second tier of claims, which will move up should any of the lead cases settle - as has happened with actress Sienna Miller's action, although it has yet to be formalised through a statement in open court.

They are those of former MP George Galloway, footballer Paul Gascoigne, actor Steve Coogan, PR consultant Max Clifford's former assistant Nicola Phillips, and model Elle Macpherson's former adviser Mary-Ellen Field.

The judge said Mr Andrew's case was chosen as he was admitted in the criminal prosecution to have been the subject of interception, and was an example of someone about whom no article was published but who attracted interest because of the people he acted for.

Kelly Hoppen was significant because she was said to have been targeted over a lengthy period up until 2009, was the subject of 11 articles and was allegedly harassed.

The judge said Mr Gray's case was useful because it was admitted there was an article written about him as a result of a message he left, so the court would not have to determine whether material was obtained by normal journalistic methods, as it might have to do in Ms Hoppen's case.

He said there was "significant overlap" between the cases of Ms Hoppen and Jude Law, but there was also a significant difference in their profile and, without the actor, who complains about 16 articles, the action might be left without anyone of "independent high profile".

MP Chris Bryant should be included, he added, because a number of politicians had brought claims and the kind of damages involved in such cases were likely to be different.

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