The fourth Case Management Conference in the Second Tranche of claims in the voicemail interception litigation against NGN took place in the High Court before Mr Justice Vos on Friday 1 June 2012.

This CMC mainly concerned the frame-work for potential claimants (who have only recently been notified by the police) wishing to join the Second Tranche of claims in the group litigation and directions for those claimants with issued claims in the Second Tranche, the trial of which is listed for March 2013.

The First Tranche of phone hacking claims against NGN concluded in February 2012 and there are now 50 new claims on against NGN in the Second Tranche. Atkins Thomson have been appointed as the “lead solicitor” under an order dated Order made at the Second CMC on 20 April 2012 [pdf].

The voicemail interception litigation – managed by Mr Justice Vos – does not just include complaints concerning the accessing of voicemails but also other claims including accessing electronic information held on computers and/or any activities related to the accessing of mobile telephone voicemails or electronic information. The litigation now includes claims against both the News Of The World and the Sun.

On Friday 1 June 2012 Mr Justice Vos made various directions and orders throughout the CMC, the most important of which are summarised below:

1.     New claimants who wish to join the group register of claims and become part of the group litigation will not be added to the group register after 24 August 2012. Therefore, any claimant wishing to do so must serve claimant-specific Particulars on or before that date. In short new claimants must get a move on and progress their claims now if they wish to achieve the 24 August 2011 cut off date for participation in the Second Tranche.

2.   New claimants must use the recognised disclosure procedure when taking steps to formulate their claims.  These procedures include the Norwich Pharmacal application; the new special procedure that has been devised and approved by the court on 27 February 2012 for named individuals who have not yet issued proceedings; and standard third party disclosure after proceedings have been issued).

3.   They should instruct one of the firms of solicitors who have gained experience in the voicemail interception litigation in order to help keep costs down. Mr Justice Vos said that new claimants must not instruct new firms without exceptional reason. The solicitors’ firms with experience in the voicemail interception litigation are Atkins Thomson, Bindmans, Berwin Leighton Paisner, Collyer Bristow, Mischon De Reya and Steel & Shamash and Taylor Hampton.

4.   Mr Justice Vos ordered that NGN preserve new evidence including the iphones of two senior senior executives at NGN and their e-mail contents and provide the results of their investigations into this evidence in the next CMC.

5.   Finally Mr Justice Vos discussed the costs budgets of both sides in order to limit the costs of the litigation.

There is a full Transcript of the Hearing of 1 June 2012 [pdf].

The next CMC in the Second Tranche of voicemail interception litigation will take place on Friday 22 June 2012 before Mr Justice Vos, with a further CMC listed for 27 July 2012.