News International Launches Compensation Fund for Hacking Victims

Rupert Murdoch - Meets With Dowler - P - 2011
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The news comes after police said the total number of victims may be almost 6000.

LONDON - News International has set up a compensation scheme for phone-hacking victims effective Nov. 4.

Victims can apply via News International's website.

Applicants are being offered the opportunity to pursue compensation "as a speedy, cost effective alternative to litigation" and can expect to "obtain very similar remedies" as they would expect to receive in court, News International claims.

The publisher has hired former high court judge Sir Charles Gray to be the independent adjudicator for the scheme and will pay victims "reasonable" legal costs as well as the compensation that Sir Charles Gray eventually decides. It also offers "confidentiality over victim identity from start to finish, if requested."

The news comes after London's Metropolitan police revealed that as many as 5795 people may have been the victims of illegal phone intercepts, 2000 more than had been earlier believed.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard, the head of London's police force, said that the total number may yet turn out to be greater.

"It is not possible to give a precise figure about the number of people whose phone actually have been hacked but we can confirm that as of November 3, 2011 the current number of potentially identifiable persons who appear in the material and who therefore may be victims, is 5795."

The police went on to say: "The figure is very likely to be revised in the future as a result of further analysis."