Hugh Grant Explains Decision To Settle With The Sun In Privacy Case — Update

UPDATE, 2.58am, April 18: Hugh Grant has explained his decision to settle in his privacy case with the publisher of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid The Sun, saying civil litigation rules in the UK forced his hand.

In a thread on social media, he wrote: “I don’t want to accept this money or settle. I would love to see all the allegations that they deny tested in court. But the rules around civil litigation mean that if I proceed to trial and the court  awards me damages that are even a penny less than the settlement offer, I would have to pay the legal costs of both sides.

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“My lawyers tell me that that is exactly what would most likely happen here. Rupert Murdoch’s lawyers are very expensive. So even if every allegation is proven in court, I would still be liable for something approaching £10 million in costs. I’m afraid I am shying at that fence.”

Grant claimed Murdoch had used this method to “settle over 1,500 claims” and seemed “remarkably determined that there shouldn’t be a trial of the facts.”

Paddington 2 and Notting Hill actor Grant said he would use the settlement money to fund groups such as Hacked Off, which was formed in response to the phone-hacking scandal that led to the closure of Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper in 2011.

“Murdoch’s settlement money has a stink and I refuse to let this be hush money. I have spent the best part of 12 years fighting for a free press that does not distort the truth, abuse ordinary members of the public or hold elected MPs to ransom in pursuit of newspaper barons’ personal profit and political power.

“So this money will repurposed via groups like Hacked Off into the general campaign to expose the worst excesses of our oligarch-owned press.”

A spokesperson for News Group Newspapers said “an unreserved apology” to victims of voicemail interception by the News of the World back in 2011 and has been paying financial damages “to those with proper claims” ever since.

“As we reach the tail end of litigation, NGN is drawing a line under disputed matters, some of which date back more than 20 years ago. In some cases, it has made commercial sense for both parties to come to a settlement agreement before trial to bring a resolution to the matter.

“There are a number of disputed claims still going through the civil courts some of which seek to involve The Sun. The Sun does not accept liability or make any admissions to the allegations.

“A judge recently ruled that parts of Mr Grant’s claim were out of time and we have reached agreement to settle the remainder of the case. This has been done without admission of liability. It is in both parties’ financial interests not to progress to a costly trial.”

PREVIOUSLY, 3.56pm, April 17: Hugh Grant has settled in his privacy case with the publisher of Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid The Sun.

Grant, alongside the likes of Prince Harry, was suing News Group Newspapers (NGN) for alleged widespread unlawful information gathering. He claimed journalists used private investigators to tap his phone and burgle his house, his lawyer said in court documents on Wednesday, according to the BBC.

Grant’s case was one of several that became eligible to go to trial at London’s High Court in January. The terms of the settlement have not been made public.

Grant is a huge British movie star, featuring in Notting Hill, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually and Paddington 2 amongst others and winning a BAFTA for Four Weddings.

Grant was a victim of phone hacking more than a decade ago and has been one of the most vocal campaigners against the practice, which blew a hole open in the UK newspaper industry at the start of the last decade.

Prince Harry, meanwhile, has been involved with many such lawsuits and was recently awarded substantial damages from Mirror Group Newspapers. The Prince and a group including Elton John are suing the publisher of the Daily Mail over allegations of unlawful information gathering, which a judge recently ruled can go to trial.

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