A&O litigators seconded to News International on phone-hacking case

A&O joins growing list of lawyers on Hackgate; Clifford Chance brought in to advise James Murdoch

News International HQ
News International HQ

Allen & Overy has seconded lawyers to News International to help it deal with the legal fall-out from the phone hacking scandal, joining an ever-increasing list of law firms involved.

A lawyer close to the case said: “News International are desperate for lawyers, they’re working flat out and they needed some help.”

Linklaters (21 July 2011), which has been instructed to News Corp’s management and standards committee, wrote to the select committee earlier this month (see letter) to explain why the firm had redacted an email between News Corp’s former HR head Daniel Cloke and News of the World’s disgraced royal correspondent Clive Goodman. At issue is whether the tabloid had attempted to rehire Goodman and whether anyone at News International had a part in the redactions.

The letter revealed that Clifford Chance had also scored a role in the legal line up, advising Rupert Murdoch’s son and News International chairman James Murdoch .

On Tuesday the Government’s culture, media and sport select committee recalled the News International chairman to answer further questions on phone hacking.

Questions have been raised as to how much, if any, knowledge Murdoch had about the hacking of phones by private investigators employed by the tabloid.

The committee has also called on News International’s lawyers at Farrer & Co and recalled Taylor Hampton consultant Mark Lewis, who has acted for several claimants in the scandal including Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballer’s Association for whom he secured a £425,000 settlement (20 September 2010).

Harbottle & Lewis, former advisers to News International (12 July 2011), had submitted the same email but redacted different words, the select committee said in a letter to Linklaters.

The firm said: “Those redactions were by a partner in this firm. No News International or News Corporation officer or employee took any part in deciding what to redact.”