- By Tom Symonds
- Interior correspondent
May 26, 2023 11:07 AM BST
Updated 14 minutes ago
The Supreme Court ruled that some lawsuits were filed too late to proceed
Hugh Grant has been given permission to sue the publisher of the Sun newspaper for bragging and phone tapping.
A judge has dismissed an attempt by News Group Newspapers (NGN) to block his lawsuit because he had not filed it in six years.
The actor claims private investigators working for the Sun tapped his phone, bugged his house and car, and broke into his home to get stories about him.
The publisher denies the claims.
Mr Grant was denied permission to sue over the interception of his phone voicemails after the judge ruled he could have filed a phone hacking suit much sooner.
Some of the evidence against the newspaper was contained in testimony given by private investigator Gavin Burrows.
A similar case, centered on the Duke of Sussex’s claims, is due to go to the Supreme Court in July.
NGN said it was “pleased that, following our motion, the Supreme Court has ruled that Mr Grant is barred from filing a phone hacking lawsuit against The Sun.”
“NGN strongly denies the various historical allegations of unlawful intelligence contained in the remains of Mr. Grant’s claim.”
Hugh Grant’s statement in the case alleges that parent company News UK lied for years about its involvement in phone hacking and illegal intelligence gathering.
He said the company has a “substantial, long-term and deliberate strategic policy plan of using false denials and other cover-ups regarding The Sun to prevent myself and others in a similar situation from making claims against them.”
These included, he said, false denials to the Leveson Inquiry into Press Standards, a press complaints office, and in public statements.
Cases of this type must be brought before the civil courts within six years, and this time limit has become an important litigation in lawsuits against newspapers, as allegations of wrongdoing often date back 30 years.
Publishers try to argue that cases should not go to court because alleged victims of illegal news gathering have delayed legal action.
Judge Fancourt said in his ruling that Hugh Grant had long believed that private investigators were paid to investigate his private life.
However, it was not until 2021, when News Group Newspapers disclosed invoices for their payments, that Mr Grant had potential evidence that would allow him to win his case in court.
This ruling does not mean that the issue of whether Mr Grant’s lawsuit is late is settled, but it will now be examined at next year’s trial.
The judge said there was a reasonable chance the actor would prove in court that, before seeing this evidence, he “could not have believed with reasonable certainty that he might have been targeted by private investigators hired by The Sun.” “.