Rebekah Vardy To Pay Coleen Rooney Around £1.5 Million After Losing Libel Case

The so-called "WAGatha Christie" saga reached a peak in the summer, when a judge ruled in Coleen's favour.
Rebekah Vardy pictured leaving court earlier this year
Rebekah Vardy pictured leaving court earlier this year
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A judge has ruled that Rebekah Vardy should pay Coleen Rooney around £1.5 million in legal costs, after losing her high-profile libel case earlier this year.

The long-running “WAGatha Christie” saga involving the two footballers’ wives first began three years ago, when Coleen published a now-infamous post on Twitter claiming that Rebekah’s Instagram account was the source of several “false stories” about her being leaked to The Sun.

Rebekah had always maintained her innocence in the matter and later sued Coleen for libel, with things coming to a head in July of this year when a judge ruled in Coleen’s favour after a week-long trial.

In an order that was made public on Tuesday, Mrs Justice Steyn ruled that Rebekah should have to cover 90% of Coleen’s legal fees.

Coleen incurred total costs of more than £2 million, although £350,000 of those had already been racked up before the trial in May, so those were removed to produce a final figure of £1,667,860.

Rebekah was ordered to pay £800,000 of the costs bill by 4pm on 15 November, in addition to paying costs incurred by seven journalists who were potential witnesses but did not give evidence – apart from a portion of their costs which Coleen has already been ordered to pay.

Coleen Rooney
Coleen Rooney
Neil Mockford via Getty Images

In a statement, Paul Lunt – partner and head of litigation at law firm Brabners, who represented Coleen Rooney – said: “The High Court has today decided that Rebekah Vardy must pay Coleen Rooney’s legal costs on an indemnity basis – the highest basis that the court could order.

“The reasoning given for this decision is that there was a finding at trial that Rebekah Vardy had deliberately deleted or destroyed evidence.

“That behaviour falls outside the ordinary and reasonable conduct expected of a party in legal proceedings.

“This followed a separate finding regarding the loss of evidence that was in the possession of Rebekah Vardy’s former agent, Caroline Watt.

“Coleen’s pursuit of that evidence is a major reason why her legal costs increased substantially from the original estimates given to the court long before the start of the trial.

“Rebekah Vardy has been ordered to pay £800,000 to Coleen Rooney by November 15 as an interim payment until the final total she must pay is either agreed or decided upon by the court.

“Naturally, Rebekah will also be responsible for her own legal costs of bringing her failed libel action against Coleen.

“Today’s decision also makes Rebekah liable to pay for legal costs incurred by certain journalists from News UK, publishers of The Sun newspaper, following her unsuccessful efforts to involve them in the proceedings.”

Rebekah with her husband Jamie Vardy
Rebekah with her husband Jamie Vardy
Neil Mockford via Getty Images

The judge also said there were certain issues which arose during the week-long trial which justified the reduction of 10% in the amount Rebekah has to pay, including Coleen’s allegation that Mrs Vardy was one of the people behind The Sun’s “Secret WAG” gossip column.

In the court order, she said: “In particular, the weak allegation that the claimant was the ‘Secret WAG’ added considerably to the work by the claimant’s representatives, the concession in respect of serious harm was made late, and [Coleen’s] public interest defence was unsuccessful.

“However, given the defendant’s success on the defence of truth which was at the heart of this claim, and the degree to which there was overlap between the issues, I consider that the appropriate reduction is 10%.”

Rebekah had argued for a reduction to 80%, while Coleen argued there should be no reduction at all.

The final figure of costs Rebekah has to pay could be reduced further if she does not agree to pay the total incurred by Coleen and, at a later date, a court considers some of those costs to have been unreasonable.

HuffPost UK has contacted Rebekah Vardy’s representatives for comment.


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