News Group officially dumps Farrers for Olswang in all hacking matters

News Group Newspapers (NGN) has replaced Farrer & Co with Olswang as official adviser on all phone-hacking claims made against defunct tabloid News of the World.

The firm had advised the newspaper group on more than 60 actions relating to the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed the tabloid. Olswang will now take over those cases.

In a statement the firm said: “We confirm we are, as of today, no longer representing News Group Newspapers in the phone-hacking litigation.”

Speculation about the nature of the relationship between News Corp and Farrers arose when it was revealed in July that Olswang would be advising NGN parent News International on the fall out from the phone-hacking scandal (5 July 2011).

Traditionally Olswang acted against the newspaper group and counted The Guardian – the paper that has taken the lead on breaking stories about phone hacking – as a client. This was understood to be the first time News International has turned to Olswang for advice.

Farrers partner Julian Pike has advised a number of News Corp publications on high-profile matters. Later this week he will be questioned by the parliamentary committee investigating  phone hacking.

Pike advised NGN when it settled a claim brought by Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor in one of the first phone-hacking claims made against it (20 September 2010). He has been called to answer questions about the nature of the advice along with Taylor’s lawyer, Taylor Hampton consultant Mark Lewis.

Last month NGN hired partner Benjamin Beabey from the firm to work alongside The Sun’s legal manager Justin Walford (19 September 2011).