London: Thirty-seven people, including actor Jude Law on Thursday reached out-of-court settlement with media baron Rupert Murdoch's News International in cases related phone-hacking, with the possibility that more people of the 742 victims may make claims in future.
    
The latest round of settlements included former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, Labour MP Chris Bryant, footballer Ashley Cole and Alistair Campbell, former aide of Prime Minister Tony Blair.
    
The number of people with whom the News International has settled claims is less than one per cent of the total number of people so far identified by Scotland Yard investigators as victims of phone-hacking at the now defunct News of the World.
    
The company on Thursday agreed to another round of out-of-court settlements with 37 individuals. Actor Jude Law received 130,000 pounds and his ex-wife Sadie Frost 50,000 pounds while Prescott for 40,000 pounds.
    
Lawyers acting for the victims at the High Court on Thursday said that a total of 37 cases had been settled, with 19 individuals not wishing to make a statement or have details of their settlement made public, on top of the 18 who had statements read out earlier in the day on Thursday .
    
The total damages for the 37 settlements was not known, but is likely to rise to more than 1 million pounds, with News International's total bill significantly higher when legal costs are taken into account.
    
Overall, the settlement against the individuals is likely to cost Murdoch's company around 10 million pounds.
    
It has already paid millions of pounds to some victims of phone hacking, including the family or murdered British teenager, Milly Dowler.
    
It was a report in The Guardian last summer that Milly's phone was hacked that set off a chain of events last summer, leading to several changes in British press, politics and the police.

Hearings in the claims cases brought by the individuals whose claims were settled on Thursday were due to start in court on February 13, but this may not take place now.
    
The level of payments made on Thursday is likely to influence future claims against the now defunct tabloid from potentially hundreds of victims of phone-hacking.
    
The claimants alleged that senior employees and directors at News Group Newspapers (NGN), the News International subsidiary that published the News of the World, knew their journalists were engaging in illegal practices, and that the group deliberately deceived investigators and destroyed evidence.
    
The NGN has not admitted or denied the claims, but has agreed that compensation to the claimants can be assessed on that basis.
    
Bindmans, the solicitors company representing the victims, said that the claims had achieved the erosion of News Group's original position, "forcing them into a sequence of significant admissions about their unlawful behaviour and about their attempts to cover it up".
    
It said in a statement that the claimants had also achieved "substantial compensation for victims of illegal intrusion by journalists and private investigators.
     T
he sums paid are far in excess of the usual range of compensation payments for misuse of private information, reflecting the aggravating features in these cases".
    
The claimants, Bindamans said, now knew much more about what private messages were listened to, who intercepted their messages and who authorised it, how and why the interceptions were carried out, what was done with the information, who was paid and how much.
    
They are also now aware of the vast scale of the illegal behaviour and the attempts by News International to deceive the police and public, it said.

(Agencies)