BBC pays out £2 million in legal costs to Sir Cliff Richard

Sir Cliff Richard will receive around £2m towards his legal costs from the BBC after agreeing a final settlement following last year’s privacy case.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 4:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 7:22 pm

In July 2018, the star won a High Court case against the broadcaster over its coverage of a police raid on his home.

The BBC was ordered to pay £210,000 in damages, and later agreed to pay £850,000 to cover legal costs. That figure has now increased.

But, in a statement, the singer said he was still ‘substantially out of pocket’.

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Sir Cliff Richard backed a campaign calling for a change in the law to give anonymity to those who are accused of sexual offences until they are charged. Picture: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images.

During the trial, the 78-year-old singer said he had spent more than £3m to clear his name.

In a statement, the star’s spokesman said: “Sir Cliff incurred these costs over a five-year period as a direct result of the actions of the BBC and South Yorkshire Police.

“He is, of course, glad that an agreement about costs has now been reached. Ultimately, however, Sir Cliff is substantially out of pocket (a seven figure sum), not least because there are costs that he has not sought to recover from the parties.”

The BBC, which also paid £315,000 to South Yorkshire Police for legal costs, said it was ‘pleased’ to have reached ‘an amicable settlement’.

“The BBC'’ costs are within the scope of our legal insurance,” added a corporation spokesman.

Sir Cliff took the BBC to court after the broadcaster filmed a police raid on his home in Berkshire in 2014. The footage, which included aerial shots taken from a helicopter, was shown on news bulletins throughout the day.

Officers were investigating an allegation made by a man who claimed he was sexually assaulted by Sir Cliff in 1985. But the singer was never arrested or charged and the case was dropped two years later.

The BBC apologised for the ‘distress’ caused to Sir Cliff, but said the privacy ruling could hinder press freedom.