Rubettes court case close to resolution

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The Independent Online

The bitter legal battle between former members of the 1970s glam-rock group the Rubettes looks set to end, with the lawyers as the only clear winners.

A High Court judge found yesterday that the two bands which emerged from the rubble of the original had been guilty of breaching an agreement signed after they split in 1999. But it emerged that the cost in legal fees of reaching even such an inconclusive settlement had already reached £180,000 and was still rising.

Now the two groups want a hearing to decide how much damages each owes the other.

The band members, whose first single "Sugar Baby Love" sold eight million copies, agreed in court in 2002 that one group would be called the Rubettes featuring Alan Williams, the lead singer, and the other, the Rubettes featuring Bill Hurd, an original band member.

But at the High Court in London last October, Williams accused Hurd, Alex Bines and Paul Prewer, a session musician who sang the original version of "Sugar Baby Love", of promoting their group as the original 70s band and using photos of Williams to promote their concerts. Hurd counter-claimed, alleging, among other things, that Williams had made rude remarks about him in an interview, including calling him "Bum-note Bill", which were published on Rubettes websites.

Williams was awarded 75 per cent of his costs of the action against Hurd and his fellow band members to reflect his greater degree of success in the liability action. He said after the judgment was handed down that he felt "vindicated" by the result and would now be pressing for a hearing over damages.