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Employment Law

Legal guidance - compliance - software

21 DEC 2011

Coulson v NGN

On the day when  Glen Mulcaire succeeded in arguing that News International should pay his legal costs under the terms of his contract with the organisation, Andy Coulson did not.

Coulson's claim turned on the construction of a clause in a compromise agreement he signed when he left News International. The clause obliged his former employer to pay

 "[t]o the extent that it is lawfully able to do so...any reasonable professional (including ...legal...) costs and expenses properly incurred by  [him] ...which arise from his having to defend, or appear in, any administrative, regulatory, judicial or quasi proceedings as a result of his having been Editor of the News of the World"

It was not disputed that this covered, for example, his participation in  the  Leveson  Enquiry. But did it cover police investigations into alleged personal criminal wrongdoing by Coulson relating to payment to police officers and interception of communications?

News international said not. Supperstone J agreed. The clause protected Coulson against  proceedings into which he was drawn by virtue of his responsibilities as Editor. It did not cover alleged personal criminal misconduct.

Further Coulson had not been charged and so there were as yet no "proceedings" in any event.

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