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Alleged criminal behaviour and indemnities

Alleged criminal conduct does not necessarily take an employee outside an indemnity. Charles Wynn-Evans looks at Coulson

6 December 2012

In a successful appeal to the Court of Appeal against an earlier High Court ruling, Andy Coulson has established that News Group Newspapers are bound to meet, and indeed to continue to meet, his legal fees relating to criminal investigations into alleged illegal activity during the period when he was editor of the News of World.

The Coulson decision demonstrates, depen-ding of course on the drafting, that the fact that an employee’s conduct might be alleged to be criminal does not necessarily take that conduct outside the scope of an indemnity covering the employee in respect of liabilities arising from the performance of his duties. It is also a valuable reminder of the need carefully to detail the precise scope of any indemnity which an employer gives to a current, former or future employee.

‘Properly incurred’

In Coulson’s ca...

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