The British actor Sienna Miller will receive £100,000 ($A150,000) in compensation from the publisher of the News of the World, after the tabloid unconditionally admitted liability for claims relating to the hacking of her phone messages.
Miller's decision to accept the compensation and a private disclosure of wrongdoing from News Group Newspapers (NGN), a subsidiary of the Murdoch-owned News International, means that the publisher will avoid the possibility of damaging revelations coming out in court.
The £100,000 payout is drawn from the compensation fund set up by News International last month, following its admission of liability for claims made by eight litigants, including Miller, in relation to alleged phone hacking at the News of the World. NGN will also pay for her legal costs.
Michael Silverleaf QC, acting for NGN, maintained that the sum was well beyond what Miller could have expected if she had pressed for compensatory damages in court.
"Ms Miller's primary concern is not compensation but to know exactly what the extent was of the hacking which took place."
Hugh Tomlinson QC, for Miller, said that NGN's agreement to admit liability for all of the actor's privacy and harassment claims had convinced her to accept the compensation offer. Miller's acceptance of the compensation will be formalised in court next Friday, BBC News reports.
"I make the position clear that Ms Miller is proceeding in this way precisely because Mr Silverleaf indicated yesterday all her claims have been admitted - misuse of private information, breach of confidence, publication of articles derived from voicemail hacking and a course of conduct of harassment over a period of more than 12 months," Tomlinson said.
"In those circumstances, her primary concern is not how much money is awarded by way of compensation but to know exactly what the extent was of the hacking which took place and, having obtained an order which will enable her to know that - so far as it is knowable - that meets all her requirements from this action."
Lawyers acting for Miller helped to expose one of the most explosive pieces of evidence linking a News of the World executive to the illegal practice of phone hacking. The executive, Ian Edmondson, was sacked by News International in January; he was arrested along with the paper's current chief reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, last month before being bailed until September.
News International has only admitted liability in a select few cases, and has vowed to fight claims made by other litigants or potential litigants. A spokesperson for the company said that it hoped to "resolve other cases swiftly".
Earlier this week, the Metropolitan Police came under renewed attack in the High Court from a number of public figures over its handling of investigations into phone hacking, The Guardian reports. The claimants - including the former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott and Tessa Jowell, a former cabinet minister - are seeking permission for a judicial review into the police's conduct.
"The Metropolitan Police misled the claimants and the wider public by stating that there was only 'a handful' of victims; and that, where there was evidence of hacking, victims were told," their submission stated.
Scotland Yard has admitted that mistakes were made, but argued that no judicial review was necessary.
Media Spy discussion: News of the World phone-hacking scandal