James Nesbitt joins celebrities in legal action on hacking

ACTOR James Nesbitt is among the celebrities to issue damages claims in the latest round of phone hacking litigation.

The Coleraine celebrity’s action is one of 46 cases, many formally launched in the last few days, which are due to be tried at London’s High Court in February next year unless settlement is reached with News Group Newspapers.

Details of the Cold Feet star’s case against News International have not been made public. He has previously had details of his personal life published by tabloid newspapers.

Other famous names published include soccer stars Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Peter Crouch, Kieron Dyer and Jermaine Jenas; singer James Blunt; ex-boxer Chris Eubank; TV presenter Jamie Theakston, former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s wife Cherie; comedian Bobby Davro, and ex-rugby player Matt Dawson.

Counsel Hugh Tomlinson QC told Mr Justice Vos that there were a total of 4,791 potential victims, of whom the police had contacted 1,892, and 1,174 were likely to be victims.

The judge emphasised the importance of budgeting after hearing that £10 million in costs had so far been incurred in individual cases.

He said it was “unbelievable” that 55 different firms of solicitors were representing 100 claimants, and urged those considering action to instruct lawyers who already had specialist knowledge of the litigation.

Mr Justice Vos was told that some of those bringing claims were likely to wish to remain anonymous.

He said: “If you bring legal proceedings in this country, you expect to have them publicly known.

“There are cases where that is not the situation, but they are few and far between, and that should be made clear.”

A further case management conference is likely at the end of May.