Sienna Miller looks set to accept the News of the World‘s £100,000 offer in settlement of her breach of privacy claim for phone-hacking.
Yesterday, News Group’s QC Michael Silverleaf told Mr Justice Vos at London’s High Court that it admitted liability unconditionally for all the wrongs alleged by the actress and accepted responsibility for compensating her.
Today, after out-of-court discussions, Miller’s counsel, Hugh Tomlinson QC, said she would apply to enter judgment on the basis of those admissions for £100,000 damages – which was the sum offered by News Group last month – and other relief.
Tomlinson said the proposed settlement, which has yet to be finalised, would include the provision of information and disclosure by the News of the World “concerning the extent of the wrongdoing”, subject to a proviso of reasonable practicality.
Miller would also have liberty to apply to the courts if more relevant wrongdoing was disclosed and would seek the making of a statement in open court in agreed terms or unilaterally.
Counsel said: “I make the position clear that Ms Miller is proceeding in this way precisely because Mr Silverleaf indicated yesterday all her claims have been admitted – misuse of private information, breach of confidence, publication of articles derived from voice-mail hacking and a course of conduct of harassment over a period of more than 12 months.
“In those circumstances, her primary concern is not how much money is awarded by way of compensation but to know exactly what the extent was of the hacking which took place and, having obtained an order which will enable her to know that – so far as it is knowable – that meets all her requirements from this action.”
The settlement is likely to be formalised by the court next Friday, when there is another case management conference in the litigation, if not before.
The development came on the second day of a hearing in which the judge was being asked by News Group to “stay” Miller’s case as to continue it would be an abuse of process.
Miller’s claim had been expected to be one of four test cases to be tried at the end of this year – the others being those of interior designer Kelly Hoppen, commentator Andy Gray and sports agent Sky Andrew.
There have been a series of court rulings recently over disclosure of information by the Metropolitan Police and Vodafone relating to material forfeited by private detective Glenn Mulcaire who, with News of the World reporter Clive Goodman, was jailed over royal phone taps in 2007.
The applications have been made by a number of alleged victims – including Miller, Law, footballer Paul Gascoigne, comedian Steve Coogan and former MP George Galloway.
Eight claimants in the litigation, including Ms Miller and former culture secretary Tessa Jowell, have received apologies from the newspaper, and News International has written to another nine asking for further evidence that their voicemails had been intercepted so a decision can be made on whether they too are entitled to an apology and compensation.
News International said in a statement: ‘We are pleased that we have managed to bring this case to a satisfactory conclusion. Several weeks ago we admitted liability in certain cases and offered a genuine and unreserved apology. We hope to resolve other cases swiftly.
‘For the record, reports that we have been ordered to disclose 8000 emails to Ms Miller are inaccurate. The error stems from a reference in court to the fact that a total of 8000 emails were being searched to ascertain whether any Sienna Miller related material was amongst them.”