Phone-hack lawyer says latest arrests could prompt fresh News Int civil claims

The arrest of six former News of the World journalists this morning could result in a new wave of civil claims, according to a lawyer acting for more than 100 alleged victims.

The Met said the six had been arrested for alleged offences that took place between 2005-06 that they were separate from the other offences being investigated by Operation Weeting.
 
Lawyer Steven Heffer said he had been informed by one client – who has already sued News International and recovered damages last year – that the police had discovered “new evidence and documents, which appears to justify an entirely new claim being made”.

Heffer added: “Under the settlement terms of the previous case there was a specific exception in the court order for any claim which might arise from new evidence which emerged at a later date.

“It seems likely that there will not only be new individuals with new claims but also existing clients with further claims arising from the additional evidence and documentation which has come to light.”

Last week figures released by News Corp revealed the enormous financial impact of the hacking scandal - in the three months to 31 December the company incurred $56m (£35.7m) in costs relating to phone-hacking, bringing the total figure to more than $340m (£216.9m).

Lawyers at News Corp’s UK publishing arm News International have been settling claims with phone-hacking victims since the Sunday tabloid was closed in July 2011.

Payouts include singer Charlotte Church (£600,000), actor Jude Law (£130,000), former Labour deputy leader Lord Prescott (£40,000), Labour MPs Chris Bryant (£30,000) and Denis MacShane (£32,500).

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