The Sun earmarked £127 million for potential phone hacking lawsuits
Prince Harry has been open in his criticism of the press

The Sun earmarked £127 million for potential phone hacking lawsuits

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The Sun earmarked £127 million for potential phone hacking lawsuits
Prince Harry has been open in his criticism of the press. Image source: Reuters

The Sun earmarked £127 million for potential phone hacking lawsuits. According to recent company filings, the publisher of The Sun newspaper, News Group Newspapers, has reserved £127 million to cover legal costs associated with phone hacking court cases. The company hopes this amount will settle the remaining litigation related to the interception of voicemails of celebrities and other individuals by the paper’s staff. Among the cases covered is one brought by Prince Harry. However, News Group emphasized that the reserve does not imply acceptance of liability.

Over the past decade, hundreds of celebrities have brought voicemail interception cases against News Group Newspapers, which published The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World. The volume of allegations against News of the World led to the paper’s closure in 2011.

Since then, there has been a wave of new cases filed, following a judge’s imposition of a cut-off date for new claims to join the current wave going through the courts. NGN has been making financial compensation payments to claimants since it issued an unreserved apology to all those who brought cases against News of the World for voicemail interception in 2012.

The News Group Newspapers spokesperson stated that while some disputed claims, including some that attempt to implicate The Sun, are still being processed in civil courts, the paper does not admit to any of the allegations or accept liability. It is common practice in litigation for parties to reach a settlement before trial, the spokesperson added, in order to resolve the matter for commercial reasons.

News Group has allocated a total of £99.8m for damages, legal expenses, and future costs related to phone hacking and inappropriate payments to public officials in the 12 months leading up to July 3, 2022, according to the company’s accounts filed at Companies House.

Additionally, the company has set aside £27.5m for legal fees connected to the closure of the News of the World, which is a significant increase from the £49m disclosed in the previous year.

The final amount may vary depending on the outcome of litigation, as stated by the company in its accounts. These legal costs contributed to the company’s annual loss of £127m, compared to £52m the previous year, despite a slight increase in turnover to £320m, largely due to higher digital advertising revenue.

News Corp is owned by media mogul Rupert Murdoch and controlled by the Murdoch family, with dozens of high-profile figures, including Sienna Miller and Paul Gascoigne, having settled cases against the firm. As part of a 2013 deal, Fox Corp agreed to reimburse News UK, News Group’s parent, for pre-split court case expenses.

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