The solicitor for the Dowler family has passed information to police regarding an alleged dossier compiled by private detectives on him and other lawyers working on damages claims against the News of the World.
Mark Lewis, one of several lawyers representing clients pursuing claims against the newspaper for phone hacking, said the dossier, which is thought to contain information about the lawyers’ lives, was aimed at securing an “unfair advantage”.
News International would not confirm the accuracy of the alleged document, but said none of its “current” executives had sanctioned activity of this type.
Lewis said he had seen the dossier, thought to have been compiled by private detectives, on him and several other lawyers.
The lawyer, who has acted for other phone-hacking victims including football executive Gordon Taylor, said: “Someone thought it was a good idea to see if they could get information. It is entirely reprehensible and completely wrong.
“It doesn’t scare me, it doesn’t bother me, but it is an apparent attempt to try and gain an improper advantage.”
He said the file appeared to have been assembled between December 2010 and January this year, “long after” he represented Taylor but before any representation of the Dowler family.
Mr Lewis said he had passed that, and other claims that his phone may have been hacked, to police: “As soon as I was notified about it, I reported it to the police who are investigating it.”
A spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Police today said they were not commenting.
Lewis’s claims first emerged in a story in The Independent. A News International spokesman said: “While we cannot confirm the accuracy of the Independent story, current News International executives did not sanction any activity of this type.”
The issue is likely to be raised with former News of the World legal manager Tom Crone when he gives evidence before the Culture, Media and Sport Committee tomorrow morning, along with Andy Coulson’s successor as editor Colin Myler.
Lewis told Sky News the only reason he would be of interest to anyone compiling a dossier on him was for work he was doing at the time with clients who were alleging their phones had been hacked.
“I was notified that this was happening, effectively information was passed on to me to say that you actually have been a victim of phone hacking,” he said.
“In terms of a dossier I was shown a dossier of information about me, some of which was wrong, some of which was right, but it could only be obtained by people following me.”
He said the allegations would not affect his ability to carry out his work, adding: “It won’t affect my ability one way or the other. It is certainly not going to make me try any harder.
“As a lawyer you represent your client as best you can and bring their case forward and it really doesn’t matter who it is, they are not allowed to scare a lawyer and a lawyer won’t be scared.”
Mr Lewis said he hoped the issue would be raised by the select committee tomorrow.
“I would hope as a member of the public that the politicians would be asking questions as to why a lawyer was followed or why a lawyer had his messages listened to. Was Tom Crone aware of what had gone on?”