Permission to appeal

Permission to appeal decision

27 October 2016

Frost and others (Respondents) v MGN Limited (Appellant) UKSC 2016/0106

On appeal from the High Court of Justice Chancery Division (England and Wales)

Permission for MGN Ltd to appeal was granted in a case relating to whether additional liabilities (success fees and ATE premiums) can be recovered, following the decision to award the respondents damages for breaches of privacy resulting from phone hacking and related activities.

This is an application for a 'leapfrog' appeal from the order of Mr Justice Mann in the High Court, declaring that recovery by the respondents of 'additional liabilities' (success fees and ATE premiums) was not incompatible with MGN's rights under Article 10 ECHR (freedom of expression). The respondents are those claimants who have settled and those chosen as 'representative' in 'Wave 1' of the Mirror Newspapers Hacking Litigation. The claims of the Representative Claimants were treated as test cases and judgment was handed down in their favour with an award of damages by Mann J on 21 May 2015, subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal on 17 December 2015.

The appellant has also been ordered to pay the respondents' costs, which are in the process of being assessed. The respondents had instructed lawyers under conditional fee agreements (CFAs) and most had also taken out 'after the event' insurance (ATE). Under the applicable framework they are in principle entitled to recover 'additional liabilities' (success fees under the CFAs and the ATE premiums). The respondents made an application to the High Court, granted by Mann J, for a declaration that the framework which permits the respondents to recover these additional liabilities is not incompatible with Article 10 ECHR. Since Mann J felt bound by a House of Lords decision, the appellant seeks a 'leapfrog' appeal direct to the Supreme Court.

Permission to appeal was granted and the High Court judgment being appealed is available here:

A hearing will be scheduled in due course.