Phone-hacking claims against the Sun newspaper can go ahead in the civil courts, a High Court judge has ruled.

News UK (previously News group newspapers of NGN) previously settled more than 1,000 cases brought against the now defunct tabloid News of the World, but insists that phone hacking did not take place at the Sun.

However, Mr Justice Mann has opened a path for claimants to also take action against the Sun, saying that four claimants with pending cases against the Murdoch-owned newspaper group could amend their cases to include the Sun. Two of these cases are scheduled to reach trial in July.

In reaching his decision, the judge considered a wide range of evidence including allegations that senior executives and journalists, who could have known about the phone hacking, moved from News of the World to the Sun.

In his evidence, private investigator Glenn Mulcaire also made references in his notebooks to the Sun in relation to a story about Wayne Rooney that was discovered through illegal phone hacking.

Celebrities, royals, and the victims of crimes were among those targeted by the News of the World in its illegal phone hacking activities, which eventually brought the paper down in July 2011. These activities resulted in the conviction of former editor and Conservative Party advisor Andy Coulson, but his predecessor Rebekah Brooks was found not guilty and has since returned to her role as chief executive of News UK.

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