At least 230 more people who claim to be victims of phone hacking are expected to pursue claims for damages or compensation against News International.
Former England footballer Sol Campbell, former Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona and former Westlife member Brian McFadden are among the latest celebrities to have their names added to the second round of civil litigants pursing cases against the publishing company, the High Court in London heard yesterday.
It was also alleged in court that journalists working for the now defunct News of the World hacked the phones of lawyers Robin Winskell and Kirsty Brimelow. Mr Winskell has acted for Premiership footballers while Ms Brimelow is a criminal law specialist who has defended celebrities and other high profile clients.
Mr Justice Vos, conducting a case management hearing, was told by Hugh Tomlinson QC that 68 new cases had been added to the register of civil claimants, with up to 40 more expected to be added before a 14 September deadline.
A further 124 claims have already been accepted into the compensation scheme set up by News International, parent company of News Group Newspapers, making a total of 232 outstanding claims. Mr Tomlinson estimated that by the deadline, the total number of cases would be "somewhere under 300".
The new cases are in addition to the 50 that have already been settled by News International. Among them were Charlotte Church, Jude Law, Steve Coogan and John Prescott.
Mr Justice Vos told the hearing that his role and his findings would be limited: "I am assessing damages. I am not conducting a public inquiry."
More than 20 lawyers were present in court for the hearing. Mr Justice Vos told them he no longer wanted the hacking claims to be dealt with "piecemeal" and said that his priority for now was to get on with assessing how big the damages should be.
The new cases had originally been expected to be heard next February but have been delayed until after May so as to avoid any clash with criminal cases against former News International staff, including former chief executive Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, the former NOTW editor who went on to serve as a spin doctor for David Cameron.
A three-day hearing will, however, take place from 25 September, to consider issues such as the disclosure of further details to claimants.
A further hearing will take place on 10 October, when News International will attempt to have the case of Mary-Ellen Field, the former adviser to model of Elle Macpherson, thrown out.
Ms Field maintains her reputation was "trashed" when Ms Macpherson suspected she was leaking stories. Ms Field accuses NOTW of hacking into her voice messages but News International denies it and wants the claim struck out.Reuse content