News International admits liability for tabloid phone hacking

8 Apr 2011

News International has issued a statement today saying it will admit liability in some of the cases brought against it for phone hacking by its Sunday tabloid, News of the World.

In the statement, News International says it will approach some litigants with “an unreserved apology” and “an admission of liability in cases meeting specific criteria”.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned company said it has asked its lawyers to establish a compensation fund to deal with “justifiable claims fairly and efficiently”.

“This will begin the process of bringing these cases to a fair resolution with damages appropriate to the extent of the intrusion. We will, however, continue to contest cases that we believe are without merit or where we are not responsible.

“Past behaviour at the News of the World in relation to voicemail interception is a matter of genuine regret. It is now apparent that our previous inquiries failed to uncover important evidence and we acknowledge our actions were not sufficiently robust”.

According to the BBC, News International believes most claims will be settled for less than £100,000 each and hopes to pay out less than £20m.

Twenty-four civil cases are currently active against the tabloid for illegally intercepting mobile phone voicemail messages between 2004 and 2006. Litigants include politician Tessa Jowell, football commentator Andy Gray, actresses Sienna Miller and Lesley Ash, and designer Kelly Hoppen.

News International did not specify today the cases for which it is admitting liability.

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