Bruce Lehrmann ordered to pay most of Ten’s legal costs after failed defamation case

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun18,2024
This article contains references to sexual assault.
Bruce Lehrmann has been ordered to pay most of Network Ten’s legal bill after his failed defamation case against the network.
In April, the ex-Liberal Party staffer after the Federal Court found that imputations he raped Brittany Higgins in a Parliament House office in March 2019 were, on the balance of probabilities, most likely true.
The 28-year-old had on The Project in which journalist Lisa Wilkinson interviewed Higgins over the rape allegation.

Since the findings against Lehrmann, the parties have been in dispute over the legal costs and who should foot what is expected to amount to a sizeable legal bill for the long-running and high-profile case.

A woman in barrister's clothes walks with her arm around another woman wearing a white suit.

Network Ten will be liable to pay Lisa Wilkinson (right) at least a portion of her legal costs. Credit: Bianca De Marchi

On Friday afternoon, Justice Michael Lee found in favour of Ten’s application for indemnity costs.

Lehrmann was ordered to pay for the network’s costs on an ordinary and indemnity basis, but he will not have to pay costs for some affidavits.

The total amount he will have to pay will be determined at a hearing later in May.

Justice Lee noted “there are no real winners” in the case, and criticised Ten’s lawyers for going on a “victory tour” after .

Earlier in the week, the court heard Lehrmann had no financial backers and that his lawyers had agreed they did not need to be paid if he lost the case.

Ten will be liable to pay Wilkinson for at least a portion of the legal costs she incurred for retaining her own lawyers.
The network can then claim this back against Lehrmann as part of its own expenses.

However, a referee will be appointed to examine whether the journalist could have avoided unnecessary costs in the way she ran her case.

The costs matter will return to the court for a case management hearing on 27 May.
Lehrmann has until 31 May to appeal the defamation case finding.
If this story has raised any issues for you, help is available at Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If you or someone you know wants to talk about sexual assault or harassment, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit In an emergency, call 000.

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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One thought on “Bruce Lehrmann ordered to pay most of Ten’s legal costs after failed defamation case”
  1. Was there any specific evidence presented during the case that led to the findings against Lehrmann?

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