Total costs estimated at more than £500,000 look set to be racked up in a libel case brought by tennis player Robert Dee, dubbed the “world’s worst” by the Daily Telegraph.
Over the past two years, Dee has won apologies from newspapers and broadcasters around the world after it was widely reported that he was the “world’s worst professional tennis player”.
According to the Telegraph, Dee lost 54 consecutive International Tennis Federation matches in three years, which the paper said made him the world’s worst player. Dee says he won 20 other professional matches in that period and his lawyers claim he has been defamed by inaccurate reporting.
The latest High Court hearing was in response to a request from the Telegraph’s solicitor-advocate, David Price of David Price Solicitors & Advocates, for further clarification on the wording of the claim.
Ruling in favour of the newspaper and ordering Dee’s legal team to hand over more information, Mr Justice Eady revealed that the claimant’s costs for the case had escalated to £500,000, without considering an uplift fee or the cost of after-the-event insurance.
“To an outside observer, it may seem difficult to understand how the case could give rise to such expenditure,” Eady J said in his ruling.
Since the article was published in April 2007, Dee has won a £12,500 payout from the BBC plus £28,000 in costs, £15,000 from the Daily Mail and £5,000 from Express Newspapers.
Addleshaw Goddard partner David Engel and 5 Raymond Buildings’ Jacob Dean are advising Dee.