A partner in the law firm that represents the Queen admitted today that he knew Parliament had been misled about the phone-hacking scandal but did not take any action.
Julian Pike, a partner with Farrer and Co, told a Commons probe he became aware that the "one rogue reporter" defence being used by the News of the World in the wake of the initial scandal was wrong.
Quizzed by MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport select committee about at what stage he realised previous evidence given them was not true, Mr Pike said it "would have been at the point it was given to you".
Pressed by Labour MP Paul Farrelly on what action he had taken since, Mr Pike admitted: "To be honest, I haven't done very much."
Mr Farrelly said: "I'm just imagining a headline - Queen's solicitors knew the News of the World was lying to Parliament but did nothing about it. Do you think that reflects well or badly?"
Mr Pike said: "We have obligations to the client we are acting for.
"That is a headline that is obviously not ideal."
But Mr Pike said it would be "very unfair of me to tell you that someone deliberately misled" the committee.
The lawyer insisted there had not been a "cover-up" of the phone-hacking scandal because the police had all the relevant documents they needed to have launched a wider investigation.
Mr Pike advised News Group to pay £425,000 - despite the highest compensation for breach of privacy he had previously been involved being no more than £30,000-£40,000 - to Gordon Taylor because the Professional Footballers Association boss had evidence that his phone had been hacked.
He said Mr Taylor was given "the ability to negotiate a strong settlement" because he had obtained a copy of the so-called "For Neville" email, which included a transcript of his phone messages.
The committee, which is carrying out an investigation into the phone-hacking scandal at the now-defunct News of the World, heard that Mr Pike obtained authority from News International's European chief executive James Murdoch to reach a settlement with Mr Taylor.
Acknowledging the settlement in 2008 was "an unusual case", he insisted "there was no precedent for this sort of case".
"The risk of it being more than we had seen prior to that was greater."
Mr Taylor had been demanding £250,000 even before he had the key email, said Mr Pike, adding: "Having then received evidence which did support his case, it was obvious that he was not going to settle for less than when he had no evidence."
Mr Pike said part of the advice he submitted - in writing to former News of the World legal adviser Tom Crone - including a warning there was was a "powerful case" that there was a wider use of the "illegal accessing" of information by reporters working at the newspaper.
Solicitor Mark Lewis, who represented Mr Taylor, told MPs he knew there was "something wrong" when Mr Crone visited him in Manchester to discuss the case.
He said that in the 17 years he had been in practice at the point, the newspaper's legal adviser had "never left Wapping".
Mr Lewis, who represents many of the News of the World's alleged victims, including the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, dismissed claims that the newspaper eventually made such a large settlement because the original demand - before the "For Neville" email emerged - was for £250,000 for his client.
"The idea that any negotiation would start by what I had asked for in the first place is inconceivable."
He told the committee that there was "no way" the case was worth that much, adding that it was strange that the company also paid his costs in full.
"They didn't knock a penny off my costs. That's unheard of in litigation."
Mr Lewis said he is now representing clients about possible hacking cases carried out by News International employees on "American soil".
The two cases potentially involve four people, he added.