23/02/2012 09:25 GMT

Andy Coulson Loses Bid To Make Murdoch Pay Legal Costs

David Cameron's former director of communications Andy Coulson has been denied permission to appeal against a High Court decision that his former employer News Group Newspapers (NGN) does not have to pay his potential legal costs over the phone-hacking affair.

Coulson resigned as editor of the News of the World in 2007 after one of his reporters was convicted of phone hacking. He was then hired by Cameron to head up his media operation, but quit that job in 2010 citing the ongoing scandal as a distraction.

Coulson reportedly put his detached south London house on the market for £1.6m after the original ruling in December in which Mr Justice Supperstone rejected his bid and ordered him to pay NGN's costs.

His lawyers argued that a clause in his severance deal meant NGN should pay professional costs and expenses incurred by him "in defending allegations of criminal conduct" during his tenure as editor.

The decision to deny him permission to appeal appears to mean the end of the battle by Mr Coulson, Prime Minister David Cameron's former communications chief, to get News of the World publisher NGN to cover any fees.

In July Coulson, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, was arrested then bailed by officers from Operation Weeting, the Metropolitan Police investigation into phone-hacking at the News of the World.

NGN is also facing a new claim over the hacking of a phone from Cherie Blair, the wife of former prime minister Tony Blair.

A statement released by Graham Atkins, of Atkins Thomson, said: "I can confirm that we have issued a claim on behalf of Cherie Blair in relation to the unlawful interception of her voicemails."

Singer Charlotte Church has settled her phone-hacking damages claim against NGNs, the High Court also heard on Thursday.

The resolution of the action brought by 25-year-old Church and her parents James and Maria came just days before it was due to be tried.