Lisa Wilkinson wins legal fees battle with 10 in “capitulation” from the Network

Lisa Wilkinson

The fees are predicted to be over $1 million.

Network Ten has agreed to cover Lisa Wilkinson‘s legal costs incurred during the defamation lawsuit brought by Bruce Lehrmann.

Whilst Lehrmann has been suing the Network and Wilkinson for defamation following an interview with Brittany Higgins on The Project, Wilkinson and Ten had been facing off separately regarding who would pay her legal fees from the trial.

During the original defamation trial, Network Ten accepted that the company was liable to cover “reasonable” legal fees, but changed its stance when Wilkinson opted to employ her own separate legal representation.

On Wednesday, Ten’s barrister, Robert Dick SC, told the court that the Network had changed its stance and agreed the request to cover costs was, in fact, reasonable. 

Before the defamation hearing began, Wilkinson’s fees were over $700,000. Today, the fees are predicted to be over $1 million.

Wilkinson’s lawyer, Michael Elliot SC, welcomed the move, telling the court the decision brought the agreement between the pair back to where it had started – albeit with even more costs stacked on.

“We say that what Ten has done today is to retreat to the position it actually had on the 24th of March,” Elliott said.

“This is not just a capitulation, it’s an embarrassment, under which we have been led on a merry dance right back to where we started almost a year ago.”

Overseeing the case, Justice Michael Lee agreed. “It seems to me plain beyond peradventure in all circumstances it was reasonable for Ms Wilkinson to retain separate lawyers,” said Lee. 

The decision comes one day after Wilkinson told the federal court that Ten executives pulled her off-air from The Project because her Logies speech caused too much “brand damage”.

The decision left her feeling “isolated, unprotected, and abandoned” by executives, including CEO Beverley McGarvey, she told the court.

“I was shocked, embarrassed and deeply disappointed,” Wilkinson said in an affidavit.

See Also: ‘Embarrassed and deeply disappointed’: Lisa Wilkinson tells court she was pulled from The Project post-Logies speech

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