The final curtain was drawn today on the long, bitter and costly legal battle between celebrity magazines Hello! and OK! over the publication by Hello! of illicit paparazzi photographs of the wedding of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
In June 2005 the Appeal Court ordered OK! to repay more than £1 million it was awarded by the High Court in respect of what happened. With costs it was estimated the decision would leave them £2.5 million poorer.
Today that decision was overturned by the House of Lords – The Law Lords ruled that there had been a breach of privacy and that OK was entitled to the £1 million which had been stripped from it by the appeal court.
However, in a complex judgment the Law Lords also ruled on the question of intention to injure OK's business in favour of Hello.
The costs for both parties are estimated to run to £8 million. Chris Hutchings of M Law, who is representing Hello!, told Press Gazette that costs could end up being split equally between the two magazines.
The central figures in the battle, Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, took no part in the latest part of the wrangle. They were awarded £14,600 between them by the High Court in respect of the privacy breach and that aspect of the case was not challenged before the law lords.