Jude Law launches legal action against 'News of the World'

Jude Law and a high-profile solicitor who represents the Alfie actor and the England footballer Ashley Cole are the two latest alleged victims of phone-hacking by the News of the World to sue Rupert Murdoch’s News Group media empire for damages.

Law has issued proceedings after learning from Scotland Yard that his voicemail messages were targeted by a private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire, who was working for the tabloid newspaper. The actor, who is represented by the legal firm Atkins Thomson and had previously obtained a court order for disclosure of police documents relating to his case, has also issued proceedings against Mr Mulcaire. Mr Law’s former partner Sienna Miller is also suing News Group for phone hacking and has been offered £100,000 by the publisher to settle the claim.

Last night Graham Shear, a solicitor at Berwin, Leighton, Paisner who has acted for Mr Law and a roster of famous clients that includes various England footballers, confirmed to The Independent that he had brought a personal claim against News Group. “The police came to see me and alerted me that I was the subject of, or appeared to be the subject of, phone hacking relating to a client or clients during 2004 and 2005. We are currently awaiting additional disclosure from the police and from News Group and cross-referencing with other victims of phone hacking,” said the solicitor, who is not acting for Mr Law in the actor’s claim against News Group.

The developments come as lawyers acting for the phone hacking litigants meet today to draw up their collective strategy in taking News Group to court. The 22 legal representatives will select five test cases to go before Mr Justice Vos, the judge handling the claims. The lead case is expected to be that brought by Ms Miller, although the fact that News Group has offered to settle her claim in full may prevent this. Mr Law may be another possible test case.

The other test cases are expected to be those of the interior designer Kelly Hoppen, the football agent Sky Andrew, the football broadcaster Andy Gray and one political case – likely to be that of the former Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell, the Labour MP Chris Bryant or the former MP George Galloway. The lawyers are meeting at Matrix chambers, where Cherie Blair practises, ahead of a High Court case management conference before Mr Justice Vos on 20 May. The claimants will be represented in the five test hearings by two counsel, Hugh Tomlinson and Jeremy Reed.

All the cases relate to hacking by Glenn Mulcaire, a former private investigator who was hired on contract by the News of the World and who was jailed for phone hacking in January 2007, along with the paper’s royal editor Clive Goodman.

Mr Galloway has had confirmation from Scotland Yard that his phone was hacked in April 2003, which is outside the 2004-2006 period which News Group has cited in previously admitting liability for phone hacking and publicly apologising for such conduct at the News of the World. Three of the paper’s journalists – Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup – have been arrested this year by officers conducting a new investigation.

The pages of Mr Mulcaire’s notebook referring to Mr Galloway are understood to include personal details including his date of birth and addresses in London and Glasgow. Mr Mulcaire had also recorded the former MP’s mobile number and four digit PIN code. The page is marked with the first name of a former News of the World journalist who has not previously been arrested by the current inquiry team. Lawyers acting for News Group have denied liability for the hacking of Mr Galloway’s phone.

So far 20 people have issued claims for phone hacking with at least another dozen thought to be in the offing.

Mr Shear has eight clients who are preparing to issue proceedings against News Group. Between 2004 and 2006, when News Group has accepted culpability for phone hacking by the News of the World, Mr Shear’s clients were frequently the subjects of stories in the tabloid press. Mr Law was in a relationship with Ms Miller and Mr Cole had a relationship, marriage and subsequent divorce from the singer Cheryl Cole. The player also underwent a controversial move from Arsenal to Chelsea.

In 2006, Cole won an apology and libel damages from the News of the World and its sister paper The Sun following Internet speculation over the identities of two unidentified players said by the papers to have participated in an orgy. In 2008 he sued News Group again, along with the publishers of the Daily Mirror, over alleged breaches of his privacy following stories about his private life.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project