RPC and Taylor Hampton lock horns over Mirror phone-hacking claims

Trinity Mirror has instructed RPC partner Keith Mathieson and 5RB media silk Desmond Browne QC to defend claims of phone hacking.

Desmond Browne QC
Desmond Browne QC

In-house lawyers led by Marcus Partington, group legal director at Trinity Mirror Group, publishers of The Mirror, Sunday Mirror and The People, are conducting an internal investigation into claims brought by Taylor Hampton consultant Mark Lewis.

In the wake of the publication of the long-awaited Leveson report yesterday, Lewis told The Lawyer that he would be filing particulars of the claim next week.

Lewis, who represents a number of News of the World phone-hacking victims including the family of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, has instructed Hogarth Chambers’ Jeremy Reed.

It is the first time any of the Trinity Mirror publications have been implicated in phone-hacking allegations. The publisher has repeatedly stated that all of its journalists work within the law and the Press Complaints Commission code.

Lewis lodged civil claims for former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson, former footballer Garry Flitcroft, Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati, and Abbie Gibson, the Beckham family’s former nanny.

Trinity Mirror has given Lewis a deadline to serve the claims, believed to be 6 December. Lewis told The Lawyer that the particulars will be served on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Mathieson is regularly instructed by the tabloids for libel and privacy matters. The RPC partner recently teamed up with Browne to successfully defend Evening Standard publisher Associated Newspapers and journalist Andrew Gilligan against claims of breach of confidence and misuse of private information (20 November 2012).

Reed is representing a number of phone-hacking victims in test cases and recently acted for NightJack blogger Richard Horton, instructed by Taylor Hampton’s Patrick Daulby, in securing £42,500 damages from The Times after his email was hacked to reveal his identity (9 October 2012).