Trinity Mirror loses legal bid to force Alan Yentob to pay its legal costs over hacking claim

Mirror Group Newspapers suffered a second defeat in the Court of Appeal when it lost its appeal over Mr Justice Mann's refusal to make an order that broadcaster Alan Yentob should pay its costs in his phone-hacking
claim.

The decision came almost immediately after appeal judges Lady Justice Arden, Lady Justice Rafferty and Lord Justice Kitchin had rejected MGN's appeal against a total of £1.2 million in damages which Mr Justice Mann had awarded a total of eight claimants who alleged that their voicemails were hacked by journalists on MGN's newspapers – the Daily and Sunday Mirror and The People.

Yentob,  who resigned as the BBC's creative director on 3 December, was one of that group.

He was awarded £85,000 in damages – but the amount was lower than an offer of settlement MGN had made.

Under normal circumstances, a claimant whose award of damages after a trial fails to match or surpass the amount offered is expected to pay the defendant's damages from the date on which the period for accepting the offer had expired.

But Mr Justice Mann exercised his discretion and declined to make any order as to costs, saying that it would be unjust
to do so.

There were unusual circumstances in the case, said the judge.

MGN had made limited admissions and until shortly before the trial had been denying any liability, so Yentob had "some form of justification for pursuing the matter to trial".

While Yentob could not recover his costs from the newspaper group, justice did not require that he should pay its costs, he held.

MGN appealed,  but rejecting the appeal, Lady Justice Arden said: "The judge applied the right test and the factors which he took into account were circumstances to which he was bound to have regard."

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