( metro.co.uk ) - The House of Lords today allowed an appeal by OK! magazine in its marathon court battle with rival Hello! over the wedding pictures of Hollywood stars Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas. But the victory was soured by a finding that Hello! had not injured OK!'s business and the estimated ?8 million costs of the case are expected to be shared by the two magazines. The Douglases were not involved in the House of Lords case.
OK! signed a ?1 million deal with the Douglases for exclusive coverage of the celebrations in November 2000 at New York's Plaza Hotel, but Hello! came out with its own version at the same time. Three out of five Law Lords found in OK!'s favour over confidentiality of their exclusive deal in the case in which the Douglases and OK! sued Hello! over paparazzi pictures taken secretly at the New York wedding.
The Douglases and OK! won at the High Court in April 2003 but an award of ?1 million damages was quashed after Hello! successfully went to the Court of Appeal in May 2005. The findings of the House of Lords will reinstate the damages but the costs award against OK! will now be shared.
The Law Lords found that Hello! did breach confidentiality. Zeta-Jones told the 2003 High Court hearing she felt "devastated, shocked and appalled" when she realised unauthorised photographers had gatecrashed her high-security wedding at the Plaza Hotel. The ?14,600 damages awarded to Douglas and his wife by the High Court for the distress and inconvenience the Hello! coverage caused them was not challenged at the Court of Appeal.
Hello! argued during the five-day hearing that any confidentiality ceased after OK! published the photographs.