OK! legal bill over Hello! pics hits £2.5m

By Roger Pearson

OK! magazine has left London’s Appeal Court more than £2.5m poorer.
In the aftermath of the magazine’s defeat in the battle with rival
Hello! over the use of unauthorised wedding pictures of Catherine Zeta
Jones and Michael Douglas, the court ordered OK! to repay £1.047m it
was awarded in damages by the High Court.

It also ordered OK! to repay £700,000 plus £180,000 in interest that Hello!

had
paid towards its legal costs in the wake of the High Court ruling. With
an order that OK! hand over £600,000 as an interim payment towards
Hello!’s legal costs, the total bill for OK! stands at £2.527m.

OK!
will have to pay a further contribution towards Hello!’s estimated
£1.5m costs, but that contribution will be assessed later. Its own
legal costs are expected to be similar.

OK! was also refused
permission to appeal to the House of Lords against the Appeal Court’s
ruling last year in favour of Hello!. However, lawyers for OK!

confirmed that they would be asking the law lords directly for permission to appeal to them.

They
also added that the Douglases remained happy with their award and would
not be taking part in any further proceedings. Outside court, Chris
Hutchings, solicitor for Hello!, said: “We hope this is an end to this
matter which never should have got this far.”

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