Rebekah Vardy ordered to pay Coleen Rooney up to £1.5m after Wagatha trial

A judge ruled that Ms Vardy should pay 90 per cent of Ms Rooney’s costs

Holly Bancroft
Tuesday 04 October 2022 16:51 BST
Comments
Wagatha Christie case: Coleen Rooney wins libel trial brought by Rebekah Vardy

Rebekah Vardy has been ordered to pay Coleen Rooney £800,000 in legal costs after her failed libel trial.

She could also have to pay an extra £700,000, making the total potential bill to be paid to Ms Rooney £1.5m.

In a court order handed down by the High Court on Tuesday, Ms Justice Steyn said Ms Vardy would have to pay the £800,000 sum by 4pm on 15 November.

The judge said she had settled on such a punitive charge because of her finding that Ms Vardy “had deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence” ahead of trial.

Ms Vardy will also have to pay the legal costs of journalists who were summoned as witnesses for the trial, as well as her own costs. As a result, her combined bill from the failed court case could top £3m.

Ms Vardy sued Ms Rooney for defamation after she publicly accused her of being the source of stories that were leaked to The Sun newspaper.

In October 2019, the wife of former England star Wayne Rooney published a post on her social media accounts saying she had carried out a months-long “sting” and accused Ms Vardy of leaking “false stories” about her private life to the press. The operation earned Ms Rooney the moniker “Wagatha Christie”.

Rebekah Vardy will have to pay her own legal fees on top of Ms Rooney’s costs
Rebekah Vardy will have to pay her own legal fees on top of Ms Rooney’s costs (Reuters)

After being publicly called out, Ms Vardy denied leaking stories to the media and sued Ms Rooney for libel in a highly publicised trial. Following a gruelling and headline-making two weeks in court, Ms Justice Steyn ruled that even if Ms Vardy was not the direct source of the leak, evidence showed that she “knew of, condoned and actively engaged” in information being passed on to The Sun.

In her ruling, the High Court judge said that “significant parts of Mrs Vardy’s evidence were not credible”. She said that there “has been a degree of self-deception on [Vardy’s] part regarding the extent to which she was involved”.

Ms Rooney accused Ms Vardy of leaking stories about her private life to the media
Ms Rooney accused Ms Vardy of leaking stories about her private life to the media (PA Wire)

Ms Rooney’s legal representative Paul Lunt said that the ruling reflected the fact that Ms Vardy had destroyed evidence.

He said: “The High Court has today decided that Rebekah Vardy must pay Coleen Rooney’s legal costs on an indemnity basis – the highest basis that the court could order.

“The reasoning given for this decision is that there was a finding at trial that Rebekah Vardy had deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence.

“That behaviour falls outside the ordinary and reasonable conduct expected of a party in legal proceedings.”

The judge ordered Ms Vardy to pay indemnity costs because she ‘had deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence’
The judge ordered Ms Vardy to pay indemnity costs because she ‘had deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence’ (Reuters)

The court order for costs, published on Tuesday, revealed that Ms Rooney’s team had initially sought an interim payment of £1,250,895.36, but reduced the figure to £1m.

Ms Vardy “accepts that she was the unsuccessful party”, Ms Justice Steyn wrote in the order. But her team argued for a 20 per cent reduction on Ms Rooney’s costs because of her success in certain aspects of the case.

Ms Justice Steyn ruled that Ms Vardy should pay 90 per cent of Ms Rooney’s legal costs, saying that there were certain issues that justified a 10 per cent reduction – including Ms Rooney’s allegation that Ms Vardy was one of the people behind The Sun’s “Secret Wag” gossip column.

She also decided the costs should be assessed on an indemnity rather than a standard basis – a decision which is more favourable to Ms Rooney in terms of the portion of her legal bill she can recover.

Additional reporting from the Press Association.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in