The Work

July 26, 2011 2:56 PM

BLP Partner Files Breach of Privacy Claim Against News of the World

Posted by Tom Huddleston Jr.

A U.K. lawyer representing celebrity victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal, claims he too was victimized and filed a breach of privacy claim against the tabloid, according to Legal Week.

Graham Shear, a partner at Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP), filed his claim in April and confirmed the news on Monday while filing a separate lawsuit against News of the World on behalf of professional soccer player Ashley Cole.

Shear tells Legal Week that London's Metropolitan Police told him earlier this year that files turned over by a private investigator involved in the 2007 News of the World phone-hacking scandal, contained the information of some of his clients and himself. (That year, an editor from the tabloid and the investigator were sent to prison over phone-hacking charges.)

Shear, who has acted for Cole and other clients including actor Jude Law, is being advised on his own claim by fellow BLP commercial litigator Joby Davies, as well as Matrix Chambers's Hugh Tomlinson and 5RB's David Sherborne, Legal Week says.

Sherborne also is representing Hugh Grant. The actor recently won a court order that requires London police to hand over any evidence that would prove his voicemails were hacked by either the News of the World or other newspapers, Bloomberg reported.

The Law Society of England and Wales, which represents lawyers, is urging police to investigate further privacy breaches that may have victimized solicitors. Des Hudson, the society's chief executive, has said that any phone-hacking meant to undermine court action would represent a serious criminal offense, according to Legal Week.

Harbottle & Lewis, the U.K. firm that News Corp accused of botching the initial investigation into the phone hacking scandal in 2007 is being pressed to tell lawmakers exactly what it was hired to do during that time period, accoridng to the BBC reports. News International, News Corp's U.K. subsidiary, and Harbottle's former client, granted the firm permission to speak with investigators and lawmakers about the events.

Scotland Yard and parliamentary committees are asking the firm to provide exact information on its past internal investigation at News of the World, including what information the firm turned up during review of staff e-mails and what was revealed to executives at News International.

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