The IPKat has followed with acute interest the battle between Hello! magazine on one side and OK! magazine and the Douglas family on the other over the publication of wrongfully-taken wedding photographs (see blogs dated 10, 12 and 25 November 2003 and 16 January 2004)). The Lawyer has now reported that, in a judgment which should soon be reported, OK! Magazine, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones must pay legal costs of £2m for acting in their confidentiality case against Hello!. Mr Justice Lindsay deferred his judgment on the costs of the High Court action in last week's hearing, but lawyers working on the case are expecting the final numbers to be revealed in open court in the next two weeks. The beneficiaries of this payment are solicitors Addleshaw Goddard and the barristers it instructed. Hello!'s lawyer Chris Hutchings, who left solicitors Charles Russell last autumn to set up his own firm M-Law, is understood to have billed his client £1m, with around 30 per cent of the bill going to counsel. This means that Hello! now faces making payments totalling £4m, taking into account the £1m damages that Lindsay J ordered it to pay to OK! last summer.

The IPKat marvels at the thought that £3m in legal costs might ever be regarded as a bargain. However, considering (i) the number of occasions the parties were heard in court over the past couple of years, (ii) the intensity with which this dispute was fought and (iii) the fact that two of the issues raised in the course of this battle have already ended up before the Court of Appeal, £3m is now looking like something of a bargain.

Expensive lawyers here; cheap lawyers here
Observations 1, 2, 3 and 4 on lawyers' charging policy
Why God made lawyers here

ALL IN A GOOD CAUSE ALL IN A GOOD CAUSE Reviewed by Jeremy on Sunday, January 25, 2004 Rating: 5

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