'Wagatha Christie': Rebekah Vardy ordered to pay £1.5 million of Coleen Rooney's court costs
Mrs Vardy, 40, lost her high-profile libel claim against Mrs Rooney, 36, in July when Mrs Justice Steyn ruled that Mrs Rooney’s viral social media post accusing Mrs Vardy of leaking her private information to the press was “substantially true”.
In an order made public on Tuesday, the judge ruled that Mrs Vardy should pay 90% of Mrs Rooney’s costs.
Mrs Rooney incurred total costs of more than £2 million, but £350,000 of those had already been racked up before the trial in May, so those were removed to produce a final figure of £1,667,860.
Mrs Vardy was ordered to pay £800,000 of the costs bill by 4pm on November 15.
She will also have to pay costs incurred by seven journalists who were potential witnesses but did not give evidence – apart from a portion of their costs which Mrs Rooney has already been ordered to pay.
The judge ruled on various issues relating to Mrs Rooney’s costs after receiving written legal arguments on behalf of both women.
The total amount of Mrs Vardy’s legal costs is not known but is expected to be of a similar level to those incurred by Mrs Rooney.
Paul Lunt, partner and head of litigation at law firm Brabners, who represented Coleen Rooney, said: “The High Court has today decided that Rebekah Vardy must pay Coleen Rooney’s legal costs on an indemnity basis – the highest basis that the court could order.
“The reasoning given for this decision is that there was a finding at trial that Rebekah Vardy had deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence.
“That behaviour falls outside the ordinary and reasonable conduct expected of a party in legal proceedings.
“This followed a separate finding regarding the loss of evidence that was in the possession of Rebekah Vardy’s former agent, Caroline Watt.
“Coleen’s pursuit of that evidence is a major reason why her legal costs increased substantially from the original estimates given to the court long before the start of the trial.
“Rebekah Vardy has been ordered to pay £800,000 to Coleen Rooney by November 15 as an interim payment until the final total she must pay is either agreed or decided upon by the court.
“Naturally, Rebekah will also be responsible for her own legal costs of bringing her failed libel action against Coleen.
“Today’s decision also makes Rebekah liable to pay for legal costs incurred by certain journalists from News UK, publishers of The Sun newspaper, following her unsuccessful efforts to involve them in the proceedings.”
Mrs Justice Steyn said there were certain issues which arose during the week-long trial which justified the reduction of 10% 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.
Mrs Vardy had argued for a reduction to 80% while Mrs Rooney contended there should be no reduction at all.
The final figure of costs Mrs Vardy has to pay may be reduced further if she does not agree to pay and a court considers some of those costs to have been unreasonable.
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