ITN has been stung with a £900,000 Peter Carter-Ruck & Partners bill, which it has been fighting for more than a year
Last week Costs Judge Wright ordered ITN to pay the fee from a defamation case it lost against Carter-Ruck client, surgeon Peter Rahamim, last April. Carter-Ruck took the case under a conditional fee agreement and the bill includes a success fee of £250,000, believed to be the highest ever to be awarded for a libel case in this country. The broadcaster is to appeal the decision. Charles Russell partner Duncan Lamont, who is acting for ITN, said that ITN was disappointed with the result and that an appeal was very likely. "This is something that can have a chilling effect on the media when such vast costs can be accumulated," he said. Carter-Ruck's £250,000 success fee is 95 per cent of its original costs, meaning it has charged ITN more than £500,000 in total for work completed by two partners and an assistant on the Rahamim case. The £900,000 also includes the firm's barristers' fees and VAT. The broadcaster has already paid £175,000 in damages to Rahamim, and also needs to account for its own legal fees, which are estimated to be around £300,000. Costs draftsman Andrew Ellis, who often acts for media organisations disputing bills when they lose libel cases, said Carter-Ruck's success fee was the highest he had ever heard of in a libel case.