Supermodel's legal costs were ruled disproportionate

Pressure is mounting on the government to scrap legal success fees following a landmark court judgment involving the supermodel Naomi Campbell.

The European Court of Human Rights ruled last week that Campbell’s costs following her successful suit against the Daily Mirror were disproportionate. The case will increase pressure on the government to implement fully Lord Justice Jackson’s proposals to abolish success fees and after-the-event premiums after consultation on the report concludes in February.

In 2004, the supermodel sued the Daily Mirror for breach of privacy after it published details about her drug addiction therapy, including pictures of her outside Narcotics Anonymous.

Campbell employed lawyers on a conditional no-win, no-fee basis. Consequently, although she was awarded only £3,500, her legal costs totalled £1.1m, including a lawyer’s success fee of £280,000.

Under the CFA arrangement, the Daily Mirror’s publisher MGN was liable for these costs. The publisher appealed to the European Court of Human Rights on the basis that the success fee was too high and breached its right to freedom of expression.

Judges upheld the ruling that the Daily Mirror had breached privacy laws, but ruled that Campbell’s legal costs were disproportionate.