All About The Latest Updates

Rebekah Vardy ordered to pay £1.5m for Coleen Rooney’s legal costs after their ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel showdown

Rebekah Vardy ordered to pay ?1.5 million towards Coleen Rooney

Rebekah Vardy has been ordered to pay £1.5m for Coleen Rooney’s legal costs following their libel battle against ‘Wagatha Christie’ High Court.

The wife of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has been accused of deliberately deleting the WhatsApp messages at the heart of the case, as it was suggested his agent also intentionally dropped his phone in the sea North.

A High Court judge recently dismissed his testimony as “evasive or implausible”.

Ms Vardy and her footballer husband ended up with the bill after Mrs Justice Steyn ruled in favor of Ms Rooney in a judgment that found swathes of her sworn evidence had been ‘grossly inconsistent’, “not credible” and should be treated with “very great caution”.

She lost her high-profile libel claim against Ms Rooney, 36, in July when Judge Steyn ruled that Ms Rooney’s viral social media post accusing Ms Vardy of leaking her private information to the press was ” essentially true”.

This followed a viral social media post where Coleen revealed she had put fake stories on her Instagram page. These false stories then emerged in The Sun newspaper.

Because she had changed her settings so only one user could see it, she felt confident to make the famous statement “this is…Rebekah Vardy’s account.”

In an order made public on Tuesday, the judge ruled that Ms Vardy should pay 90% of Ms Rooney’s costs.

Ms Rooney incurred total costs of over £2million, but £350,000 of these had already accrued before the trial in May, so they were removed to produce a final figure of £1,667,860.

Ms Vardy was ordered to pay £800,000 of the costs bill by 4pm on November 15.

Mrs Justice Steyn said Mrs Rooney had not yet produced a final invoice for the total costs and therefore the figures for the order were taken from a breakdown of her costs given in a statement from her solicitor.

Vardy will also have to pay the costs incurred by seven journalists who were potential witnesses but did not testify – apart from part of their costs which Ms Rooney has already been ordered to pay.

The judge ruled on various issues relating to Ms Rooney’s costs after receiving written legal arguments on behalf of both women.

Mrs Justice Steyn said certain issues that arose during the week-long trial warranted the 10 per cent reduction in the amount Mrs Vardy has to pay, including Mrs Rooney’s allegation that Mrs Vardy was one of the people behind The Sun’s ‘Secret Wag’ gossip column.

The judge said in the court order: “In particular, the weak allegation that the plaintiff was the Secret Wag added significantly to the work of the plaintiff’s representatives, the concession regarding serious damages was made late and the public ( of Ms Rooney) advocacy failed.

“However, given the defendant’s success in defending the truth which was central to this claim, and the degree of overlap between the issues, I consider the appropriate reduction to be 10%.”

Ms Vardy had argued for an 80 per cent cut while Ms Rooney argued there should be no cut at all.

The final amount of costs Ms Vardy must pay may be further reduced if she does not agree to pay the total incurred by Ms Rooney and, at a later date, a court finds some of those costs to have been unreasonable.

The total amount of Ms Vardy’s legal costs is not known but is expected to be of a similar level to that incurred by Ms Rooney.

Paul Lunt, partner and head of litigation at Brabners law firm, who represented Coleen Rooney, said: ‘The High Court today ruled that Rebekah Vardy must pay Coleen Rooney’s legal costs on an indemnity basis – the highest base the court can order.

“The reasoning given for this decision is that there was a finding at trial that Rebekah Vardy deliberately suppressed or destroyed evidence.

“This behavior does not fall within the ordinary and reasonable conduct expected of a party in a legal proceeding.

“This followed a separate finding regarding the loss of evidence in the possession of Rebekah Vardy’s former agent, Caroline Watt.

“Coleen’s pursuit of this evidence is a key reason why her legal costs have increased significantly from the initial estimates given to the court well before the start of the trial.

“Rebekah Vardy has been ordered to pay Coleen Rooney £800,000 by November 15 as an interim payment until the final total she has to pay is agreed or decided by the court.

“Naturally, Rebekah will also be responsible for her own legal costs in bringing her defamation action against Coleen.

“Today’s ruling also makes Rebekah liable for legal costs incurred by certain News UK journalists, publishers of The Sun newspaper, following her unsuccessful efforts to involve them in the proceedings.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *