Schilling's charges are 'too expensive'

A media lawyer, who has won millions of pounds in damages from newspapers on behalf of his clients, has been told by a judge that his fees of £450 an hour are too expensive, writes Dominic Ponsford.

Mr Justice Eady's ruling follows a dispute between Mirror Group Newspapers and Schilling over the £273,000 costs bill faced by The People after it paid DJ Sara Cox £30,000 over pictures of her sunbathing topless on honeymoon in 2001.

The pictures were published under the headline "Honeymooning Radio 1 breakfast babe's amazing strip show as she reveals two of her greatest assets".

Senior partner Keith Schilling appealed against an earlier hearing, which cut the rate he could charge to MGN from £450 to £300.

In support of this appeal, Schilling presented an extract from GQ magazine, which claimed that he was the 68th most powerful man in Britain, and a cutting from The Guardian from March 2003, which described him as "probably the most feared lawyer in Britain".

Rejecting Schilling's appeal, Mr Justice Eady said: "I am naturally conscious that since the fundamental culture change some years ago, whereby advertising for lawyers was not only permitted, but positively encouraged, there is a danger that some people will begin to believe their own publicity."

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