High Court orders Max Clifford to pay £5,000 damages over Paul Burrell leak

Former royal butler Paul Burrell has been awarded £5,000 damages from disgraced former publicist Max Clifford after Clifford shared a private letter of Burrell's in 2002.

Royal Courts of Justice: Heard from Burrell and Clifford in January (Credit: Matt Brown via Flickr)
Royal Courts of Justice: Heard from Burrell and Clifford in January (Credit: Matt Brown via Flickr)

Both Burrell and Clifford appeared and gave evidence at a two-day hearing in the High Court in January. The judgement has now been handed out this morning.

The case related to a letter written by Burrell to Clifford in spring 2002, which Clifford shared with Rebekah Brooks, then editor of the News of the World.

According to Taylor Hampton, the law firm acting for Burrell, the sharing of the letter only became public knowledge in 2011. Clifford had been working with Burrell "to help protect him from intense media scrutiny", the law firm said, after Burrell's arrest over the alleged theft of items belonging to the royal family.

The High Court found that Clifford had not been given the letter in order for it to be shared with media, saying Clifford's claim that this had been the case was "highly implausible and entirely unconvincing".

Lia Perin of Taylor Hampton Solicitors, who acted for Burrell, said today: "This was a serious betrayal of confidence by Max Clifford. Paul Burrell had sought Mr Clifford’s assistance and reposed his trust in him at a time when he was at his most vulnerable."

Burrell said today: "I am extremely pleased with the outcome and am delighted to have been vindicated by the High Court."

It has been reported by various media that Burrell had been seeking £50,000 damages.

Commenting on the case, Georgie Collins of the law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Clifford had described the case as an 'affront to common sense', referring to the low value of the claim and fact that there had been subsequent publication by Burrell of information he complained Clifford had disclosed."

"Mr Burrell did not know about the misuse of his private information at the time it occurred, and simply because he published it later did not mean he didn’t care about the privacy of his information. In other words, it was not for Mr Clifford to disclose it.

In May 2014, Clifford was given an eight-year jail sentence after he was convicted of eight historical indecent assaults on women and girls as young as 15.

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