Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks and her co-defendants are planning legal action to recover up to £25 million in legal costs from the taxpayer, The Guardian's Lisa O'Carroll revealed today.
Brooks, her husband Charlie and former PA Cheryl Carter are amongst those found not guilty who are seeking to recoup their legal costs incurred while defending themselves against charges of conspiracy to hack phones and perverting the course of justice.
The presiding judge at the marathon trial, Mr Justice Saunders called the case “probably the most expensive in history” due to it’s eight month duration and the employment of some of the top, and most expensive, barristers in London by the defence team.
Brooks and the other former News International employees who were in the dock are understood to have had the bulk of their legal fees paid for by the company thanks to a clause in their contracts identifying them for any future legal action as a result of their employment.
While the defendants were found not guilty, recovery of costs is not an automatic process. A judge can refuse to grant all or part of the money claimed if he believes the accused helped “bring the case on themselves” either by withholding facts that could have proved their innocence when questioned by police or refusing to disclose information that may have led the Crown prosecution service not to proceed to trial.
As The Drum reported last week, a decision on a claim from the Crown to recover £750,000 in their costs from Andy Coulson, who was found guilty, has been delayed until all legal proceedings against him have been completed.