By Michael Holden
LONDON (Reuters) – Prince Harry wants London’s High Court to resolve the remainder of his lawsuit against Britain’s Mirror Group Newspapers as soon as possible following the ruling in his favour at the end of last year, his legal team said on Monday.
In December, the High Court ruled that Harry had been a victim of phone-hacking and other unlawful acts by journalists on the Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People tabloids with the knowledge of their editors.
The prince, the first British royal for 130 years to give evidence in court when he appeared as a witness last June, was awarded 140,600 pounds (around $180,700) in damages.
Judge Timothy Fancourt ruled that about half the stories about the Duke of Sussex examined in court were the result of unlawful acts. However, the trial only considered 33 of 147 articles Harry argues were obtained unlawfully.
“Although the Duke is certainly prepared to attempt to resolve the remainder of his claim through agreement, it is necessary to list … the trial of the remainder of his claim as soon as is practicable,” his legal team said in a written submission.
Harry’s lawyer, David Sherborne, said the directions for trial should be made as soon as possible, while MGN’s lawyers said in their written submission that offers, whose sum was not disclosed, had been made to the prince to settle.
The bulk of Monday’s hearing was taken up with arguments about legal costs for last year’s seven-week trial which heard evidence from Harry and three others who were chosen as test cases from about 100 claimants.
While Harry’s individual costs will not be dealt with until his lawsuit is concluded, lawyers representing Harry and other claimants asked for almost 2 million pounds to cover the fees for the generic action taken against the publisher.
Sherborne argued that the lies and cover-ups by MGN, owned by Reach, meant it was liable to cover these costs.
However, MGN’s lawyers argue the claimants had only been partly successful, and said three others whose cases went to trial should pay all the costs, as two were ruled to have made their claims too late and the third had received less in damages than it had offered in a pre-trial settlement.
Fancourt said he would give his ruling at a later date.
(Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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