The BBC have criticised Sir Cliff Richard for spending a “grossly unreasonable” sum of money on legal costs in his dispute with the corporation.
The veteran singer sued the BBC last year over their coverage of a 2014 police raid on his home in Berkshire, which came as part of a wider investigation into allegations of historical sexual abuse. Richard was later cleared of any involvement in the investigation.
The ongoing dispute between the two parties has again escalated with the revelation of the BBC’s criticism of Richard’s handling of the case. As The Guardian reports, a preliminary high court hearing in London – which is being overseen by Mr Justice Mann – that began today (May 4) shed light on the BBC’s complaint through a written submission from the corporation’s legal team.
“The claimant’s budget shows pre-action costs of £525,437, including 1,287 hours of solicitors’ time,” Gavin Millar QC, representing the BBC, wrote. “Though not without its legal complexities, this case cannot have required extensive factual investigations on behalf of the claimant: the broadcasts are in the public domain.”
“On any view … the claimant’s incurred costs to date are grossly unreasonable and disproportionate.”
The BBC could be forced to pay Richard’s legal costs if the singer’s claim succeeds in court. The corporation have already declared that they would defend their 2014 coverage – which Richard’s lawyers say caused their client “profound and long-lasting” damage – as they reported Richard’s denial of the allegations at every stage.
Last year, Richard was reported to be plotting a comeback after clearing his name.