Trustee of Willy the Wizard makes appeal over court costs

The trustee of the estate of the late Willy the Wizard author Adrian Jacobs has appealed against the High Court's order for him to pay £1.5m as security for the costs of J K Rowling and Bloomsbury before the plagiarism case can be heard.

Trustee Paul Allen had been ordered by Justice David Kitchen to pay a total of £1.5m to court on three specified dates, the first of which was last Thursday, 21st April. The case was due to be heard at the Court of Appeal in June or July this year. However, Allen has subsequently appealed against the sum of the payments. As a condition of the appeal, though the original payments are suspended, he must now pay £50,000 to court by close of business on 16th May.

In response to the appeal, Neil Blair, solicitor and partner at The Christopher Little Agency, which represents J K Rowling, said: "Whilst the appeal is in progress we will not make any further comment save to confirm that we will be opposing the appeal. To repeat what our client has said before, the claims made in this case are 'not only unfounded but absurd' and we are confident she will receive the vindication she is entitled to."

Jacobs' estate claims Little was given a copy of Jacobs' work Willy the Wizard, which he later passed on to Rowling, with the estate saying she then plagiarised elements of it in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. During an earlier ruling, Justice Kitchen said: "It is inherently improbable that Mr Little would have thought it worth giving a copy to Ms Rowling some eight years later."

In January this year, the lawsuit was dismissed in the US, with Rowling's US publisher Scholastic Corp saying in a statement: "The Court's swift dismissal supports our position that the case was completely without merit."