By Marcus Leach
Cases concerning phone-hacking against News of the World newspaper will finally start to be heard, although the newspaper are said to be keen to prevent as many cases as possible from going to trial.
The scandal began in 2006 when charges were brought against Clive Goodman, the News of the World's royal editor, and Glenn Mulcaire, a private investigator, alleging that they had intercepted voicemail messages left for members of the royal household.
It is alleged that over 7000 people have had their phones hacked by News of the World, what is a mass breach of privacy.
The first cases to be heard will include those of actor Jude Law and football pundit Andy Gray High Court judge Mr Justice Vos ruled.
Mr Justice will hear several cases to enable him to decide damages that were properly payable across a selection of alleged situations. He also said it will make it possible to resolve other cases without further hearings.
Others cases to be heard include those of Interior designer Kelly Hoppen, agent Sky Andrew and Labour MP Chris Bryant. It was expected that actress Sienna Miller would have her case heard, but she accepted an out of court settlement of £100,000 from the paper.
News of the World have set aside £20 million to settle the claims, although it is widely thought that the owners of the paper will do all they can to prevent cases from going to court.
"They don't want a court case, they don't want a trial, they don't want their dirty deeds to come out," journalism professor and former newspaper editor Roy Greenslade said.
The situation doesn't look good for the News of the World, with a host of other high profile cases set to be laid against the paper for breach of privacy.
With the string of super injunctions that have been granted lately to prevent the private lives of various celebrities being released the case concerning News of the World once again brings up the question of the boundaries of privacy.
It seems in the case of News of the World that, given their willingness to keep cases from court, they know they have breached the privacy of a number of people and are now doing all they can to save their reputation and financial situation.