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Rooney among new wave of celeb hacking claimants

Wayne Rooney is among the celebrities to issue damages claims in the latest round of phone-hacking litigation.

The Manchester United footballer's action is one of 46 cases, many formally launched in the last few days, which are due to be tried at London's High Court in February next year unless settlement is reached with News Group Newspapers.

Other famous names include soccer stars Ryan Giggs, Peter Crouch, Kieron Dyer and Jermaine Jenas, singer James Blunt, boxer Chris Eubank, TV presenter Jamie Theakston, former UK prime minister Tony Blair's wife Cherie Blair, comedian Bobby Davro, rugby player and TV presenter Matt Dawson, and actor James Nesbitt.

Counsel Hugh Tomlinson told Mr Justice Vos yesterday that there were a total of 4,791 potential victims, of whom the police had contacted 1,892, and 1,174 were likely to be victims.

The judge emphasised the importance of budgeting after hearing that £10m (€12.2m) in costs had so far been incurred in individual cases.

He said it was "unbelievable" that 55 different firms of solicitors were representing 100 claimants, and urged those considering action to instruct lawyers who already had specialist knowledge of the litigation.

Irish Independent