Having trained for the Bar, Heath wanted to focus on intellectual property but instead ended up working at News International (‘working for Rupert Murdoch, whereas nowadays I tend to sue him’) before joining a private practice.
He’s worked on blackmail, stalkers, and ‘the biggest libel case you’ve never heard of’ — that of social worker Sylvia Henry against the Sun over false claims regarding Baby P. However, he is now most associated with the phone-hacking leviathan he innocently undertook ‘as a bit of a favour’ in 2012.
‘Every time you think you’re at the end it all blows up again,’ he says. ‘For instance, I’m in the Supreme Court in January on these cases, on whether the recovery of success fees offends Article 10 of the Human Rights Act’ (whereby publishers are crippled by payouts). There has been some variation of late, however, as he’s been working on claim of computer hacking, via a Trojan Horse, by News Group.
What will be the legacy of these cases? ‘You like to think it cleaned up the press, but there have been so many scandals and each time they seem to be drinking in the Last Chance Saloon. It really depends on whether Leveson II takes place and if there’s a proper inquiry.’