National newspaper groups including the publishers of The Times, the Daily Mail and The Mirror, represented by RPC and Bates Wells Braithwaite, have lost an appeal against ‘no win no fee’ style pay outs in libel and privacy claims.
Rules under Conditional Fee Agreements which are used in defamation and privacy cases can potentially add millions to the legal costs newspapers have to pay out for claimants.
The newspapers argued the threat of the damages was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case saw the Supreme Court reject an appeal over phone hacking by Mirror Group Newspapers, which will cost the publisher £1.2m in damages, as well as joint appeals by Times Newspapers and Associated Newspapers.
The case was heard before Lord Neuberger, President Lord Mance, Lord Sumption, Lord Hughes and Lord Hodge.
The government is currently undergoing a consultation into introducing a new costs regime for media law under section 40 of the Crime and Costs Act following the Leveson Inquiry.
RPC litigation partner Keith Mathieson represented claimants Mirror and Daily Mail publishers, instructing Gavin Millar QC and Ben Silverstone from Matrix Chambers for Associated Newspapers and Lord Pannick QC of Blackstone Chambers and Jamie Carpenter of Hailsham Chambers for MGN.
Bates Wells Braithwaite partner Rupert Earle instructed Richard Rampton QC and Kate Wilson of One Brick Court for Times Newspapers.
The respondents Gary Flood, Andrew Miller and Sadie Frost, with former England footballer Paul Gascoigne and others, were represented respectively by firms Edwin Coe (instructing James Price QC and William Bennett of 5RB) Simons Muirhead & Burton (instructing William McCormick QC of Ely Place Chambers and James Laughland of Temple Garden Chambers) and Atkins Thomson (instructing Hugh Tomlinson QC of Matrix, Simon Browne QC of Temple Garden and Jeremy Reed of Hogarth Chambers.
Read more in: ‘Shock and Flaw – is Leveson workable?’