News International, the parent company of Murdoch's News Group Newspapers, said it did not admit that senior staff knew of the wrongdoing and tried to cover it up - but it said that "for the purpose of reaching these settlements only, News Group Newspapers agreed that the damages to be paid to claimants should be assessed as if this was the case."
Financial details of 15 of the payouts, totaling more than 640,000 pounds (about $1 million), were made public at a court hearing Thursday. The amounts generally ran into the tens of thousands of pounds - although Law received 130,000 pounds (about $200,000), plus legal costs, to settle claims against the now-shuttered News of the World tabloid and its sister tabloid, the Sun.
Law was one of 60 people who have sued News Group Newspapers, claiming their mobile-phone voice mails were hacked. Others whose settlements were announced Thursday at London's High Court included former government ministers Chris Bryant and Tessa Jowell; rugby player Gavin Henson; Princess Diana's former lover James Hewitt; singer Dannii Minogue; and Sara Payne, the mother of a murdered girl.
It was the largest group of settlements announced yet in the long-running hacking scandal, which has shaken Murdoch's global empire, spurred the resignations of several of his top executives, and reverberated through Britain's political, police, and media elite.
Law, the star of Sherlock Holmes and The Talented Mr. Ripley, said he was "truly appalled" at the scale of surveillance and privacy invasion that his case had exposed.
"No aspect of my private life was safe from intrusion by News Group Newspapers, including the lives of my children and the people who work for me," he said in a statement. "It was not just that my phone messages were listened to. News Group also paid people to watch me and my house for days at a time and to follow me and those close to me, both in this country and abroad."
News Group Newspapers acknowledged that 16 articles about Law published in the News of the World between 2003 and 2006 had been obtained by phone hacking, and that the actor had also been placed under "repeated and sustained physical surveillance." The company also conceded that articles in the Sun had misused Law's private information - although it didn't go as far as to admit hacking by that paper.