Johnny Depp – The true ‘cost’ of protecting your reputation

26 November 2020

Film Star Johnny Depp has been ordered to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in respect of his now infamous failed libel case.

The case has been one of the most high profile defamation cases in recent history, taking place over a staggering 16 days, with witnesses giving evidence from as far away as LA, Chicago, the Bahamas and even Australia.

Mr Depp’s case was an intense and lengthy legal battle, leading to a final hearing in the High Court earlier this year.

What costs has Johnny Depp been ordered to pay & why?

A legal battle of this magnitude will always be coupled with significant legal, and emotional, costs for both sides.

As his claim was unsuccessful, Mr Depp must compensate the Defendants for the costs they incurred in defending the claim he made against them.

The star has been ordered to pay an eye watering initial costs payment of circa £628,000, but this is unlikely to be the final figure! The remaining costs will be subject to a detailed assessment, where the Court considers the reasonableness of the costs incurred during the life of the dispute, before making a final decision on what must be paid.

In addition, Mr Depp’s own legal team will undoubtedly have carried out a significant amount of work in the run up to the unsuccessful hearing, which will have cost an untold amount, on top of the costs he now has to pay to his opponent.

What lessons can be learnt from this result?

With any litigation, an element of risk is always involved.

One of the biggest risks in bringing any civil claim is that, in general (and providing a matter is of a value above the small claims track limit), the losing party almost always pays the winner’s costs.

With judgments balancing on the judicial assessment of evidence presented (what the Judge believes is more likely to be the factually correct version of the truth), anyone who is considering proceedings should always start by evaluating all possible outcomes and risks in respect of their potential case before any action is taken.

Information for people seeking to pursue or defend a civil claim

Anyone seeking to issue, or defend, a civil claim should always seek professional legal advice on the risks, especially the risks on costs. The outcome of any litigation can never be certain and there is always the risk of losing at trial. The penalties for losing will not only affect your pride, but they will have a significant impact on your purse strings!

Redkite Solicitors have a specialist team of Dispute Resolution lawyers who are here to provide experienced, pragmatic, advice on what you should do if you face bringing, or defending, a civil action.

If you are contemplating issuing, or defending, litigation of any kind and require our assistance, please contact our team, whose details can be found HERE. We can guide you through the process and be with you, every step of the way.

The Authors of this article are Fauve Birch & Rhian Davies of Redkite Solicitors

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.