LONDON – Two British judges ruled Tuesday that a former tabloid editor who was once Prime Minister David Cameron's media strategist can continue a court battle to force Rupert Murdoch's News International to pay his legal fees.
Andy Coulson is fighting his former employer, News International, to make it pay any potential legal costs in an ongoing investigation into phone hacking at the now defunct News of the World tabloid, where he was once editor.
The High Court ruled in December that News International was not obliged to pay Coulson's legal fees.
Coulson challenged the ruling, and on Tuesday two appeals judges agreed he had an "arguable case" and should get a full hearing at the Court of Appeal. No date has been set.
Coulson resigned as editor of the News of the World in 2007 after a reporter and a private investigator working for the paper were jailed for hacking into the phones of royal aides.
He was later hired by Cameron, but resigned in January amid claims he had sanctioned phone hacking. Coulson denies knowledge of hacking.
News International subsidiary News Group Newspapers stopped paying Coulson's legal costs in August 2011, a month after he was arrested and released on bail in the phone hacking case. He has not been charged.
Coulson, who has stayed out of the limelight since quitting Downing Street, is due to give evidence Thursday to Britain's media ethics inquiry, set up in the wake of the hacking scandal.
In a related case, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire was asking the Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn a ruling that he cannot rely on privilege against self-incrimination in the phone hacking proceedings. Mulcaire, who was briefly jailed for illegal eavesdropping in 2007 along with reporter Clive Goodman, is fighting to keep secret who told him to hack phones on behalf of the News of the World.
Lower courts have ordered Mulcaire to say who asked him to intercept voice messages.
The Supreme Court hearing is due to last two days.