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Rebekah Brooks in bid to recover up to £20m in phone-hacking trial costs

Former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks is to begin legal proceedings today to recover some of her defence costs from the marathon phone-hacking trial.

Rebekah Brooks

Brooks, who was acquitted on charges of conspiracy to intercept communications and pervert the course of justice, is believed to have incurred up to £20m in legal bills and is now seeking to recover, at least some of this, from the taxpayer.

Also expected to be represented in the action are Brooks' husband Charlie, her former PA Cheryl Carter and the News of the World's managing editor Stuart Kuttner.

While defendants who are found not guilty of a criminal offence are allowed to apply to have their costs refunded the issue is not straightforward.

There are limits on how much each person can claim and the judge will also take into account if the accused person's actions contributed to them being prosecuted, for example by refusing to answer questions from the police.

The court will also consider the role of News International which paid a large part of Brook's legal bills as part of her settlement when she resigned as chief executive in 2011.

Lord Justice Saunders, who presided in the case, said he believed it the most expensive trial in English legal history. While Brooks was found not guilty her former deputy Andy Coulson and four others were convicted and sentenced.

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