A former High Court judge has been appointed to oversee the compensation scheme for victims of phone hacking set up by the News of the World‘s owner.
Sir Charles Gray has agreed to be the independent adjudicator of the fund, set up in April after News International admitted liability in a number of civil cases brought by public figures whose voicemails were illegally intercepted by people working for the newspaper.
The scheme aims to offer a fast and fair way for phone hacking victims to be compensated without having to go to court and incur legal costs.
Sir Charles said: “I have reviewed the terms of the proposed scheme and I am confident that it provides a fair, effective, and speedy means for determining compensation in these cases.
“I think it is very sensible to establish such a scheme which will provide very significant benefits to applicants as well as avoiding the enormous expense of court proceedings.
“I look forward to adjudicating awards under the scheme, at all times safeguarding the fairness of the process and the rights of applicants.”
News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks said: “We are pleased that Sir Charles Gray has agreed to be the independent adjudicator for the compensation scheme.
“His credentials as an arbitration expert and former High Court judge specialising in media law make him ideally placed to perform this important role.
“We very much hope that the scheme will be used as a fair and efficient alternative to obtaining compensation through court action and satisfy successful claimants that we sincerely regret any harm caused.”
News International said in a statement that the scheme would pay compensation equivalent to the damages that could result from court action plus an extra 10%.
Footballer Ryan Giggs this week became the latest celebrity to launch legal action against the News of the World over alleged phone hacking.
Actress Sienna Miller was awarded £100,000 damages at the High Court last week after bringing a privacy and harassment claim against the top-selling Sunday newspaper.
It is understood that between £15-20m has been allocated for the compensation fund.