21 October 2005

Access to Justice: Campbell's Briefs get their Dosh

The Synthon appeal was not the only case to keep the law lords busy yesterday. They also dismissed the MGN Ltd.'s appeal against having to pay a success fee of £279,981.35 on top of the costs of £377,070.07 for the trial, £114,755.40 for the appeal to the Court of Appeal and £288,468 to the House of Lords, all for damages of £3,500. The reason for the success fee was that Naomi Campbell's lawyers accepted instructions for the appeal to the House of Lords on a conditional fee agreement. MGN argued not entirely unreasonably that the threat of that kind of top up on already massive costs was something of an infringement of their human rights and particularly their freedom of expression. None of the law lords appeared to be particularly happy about the decision they had to deliver but they considered the law to be clear. Lord Hoffmann called for Parliament to look again at the legislation and most of the rest of the law lords agreed with him.

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