Mrs Justice Steyn this week handed down her ruling in the latest round of applications in the Rebekah Vardy v Coleen Rooney libel dispute. Among the applications was a request by Ms Rooney to join Caroline Watt (Vardy’s friend and agent) to her claim, alleging that she misused her private information in leaking stories to the Sun (which Watt denies). Both sides also applied for further disclosure.

Most of the applications were refused, including the joinder application, which was denied on the basis that: it was brought too late, would substantially delay proceedings by up to 12 months; and would be unfair to Ms Vardy – who denies the allegations and seeks to vindicate her reputation.

On disclosure, the Judge criticised both parties for the ‘incomprehensible lack of progress’ in requesting data from Instagram but gave permission to request it. The Judge also gave Rooney permission to search WhatsApp messages between Vardy and Watt.

Ms Rooney was ordered to pay 20% of Ms Vardy’s costs for the hearing, as well as Ms Watt’s costs in responding to the joinder application. In total, once her own legal costs are factored in, she is expected to pay out around £250,000.

The applications follow the disclosure of incendiary messages sent between Vardy and Watt, including one in which Vardy states, ‘She’s a nasty bitch’ (although Vardy denies that this comment was about Rooney).

The trial is due to start in May.