Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy could have courtroom showdown in weeks over libel case, judge orders
COLEEN Rooney and Rebekah Vardy are set to face each other in a courtroom showdown within weeks over their 'Wagatha Christie' libel battle.
Libel judge Mr Justice Nicklin has made the order as the pair gear up for their first legal skirmish.
He said a preliminary trial will decide the "natural and ordinary" meaning of Coleen's social media posts when she appeared to accuse Rebekah of leaking stories about her, the Mirror reports.
The judge made the order after Rebekah’s lawyers filed papers at the High Court.
They're asking Coleen, 34, for the meaning of the words spoken in the posts to be determined.
Rebekah, 38, is seeking substantial damages.
She claims in court documents that the posts last October resulted in her suffering “severe and extreme hostility and abuse”.
Coleen made the claims on her Instagram and Twitter accounts.
Across the two platforms, she has more than two million followers.
Just over a year ago, the mum-of-four said she suspected a pal had been leaking stories about her.
She claims she spent five months slowly reducing the number of people who could see her updates on Instagram stories until just Rebekah's account remained.
Coleen alleges she then posted a fabricated story which ended up in the Sun, before going public with the accusation that Rebekah was responsible for selling stories.
Her post said the bogus stories were only seen by one follower, concluding: “It’s . . Rebekah Vardy’s account.”
Rebekah has fiercely denied the allegation.
Now, lawyers for Jamie Vardy's wife say Coleen's post must mean she's "consistently and repeatedly" betrayed Coleen's trust over several years by leaking her "private and personal" Instagram posts.
Mr Justice Nicklin has given Coleen until October 2 to serve a “statement of case”.
In the court order, dated September 17, he states: “It is ordered by consent that there be a trial of the preliminary issue of the natural and ordinary meaning of the words complained of.”
He said the half-day trial would be heard by a specialist media and communication judge after November 15.
Coleen has yet to file a defence.
She has until 28 days after the preliminary hearing to do so.
Both wags were also warned about their legal costs.
Justice Nicklin said: “This case is particularly straightforward and I shall not expect costs above £25,000 (excluding VAT) for each party.
"I encourage the parties to reach agreement about costs budgeting.”
If the sides do not settle out of court, the case is likely to go to a full trial next year.
A spokesman for Coleen said: “We will not be making any public comments at this time.”
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