Willy the Wizard estate ordered to pay £1.5m court costs

Willy the Wizard estate ordered to pay £1.5m court costs

The High Court has ordered Paul Allen, the trustee of the estate of the late Willy the Wizard author Adrian Jacobs, to pay more than £1.5m into court as security for the costs of J K Rowling and Bloomsbury, before the plagiarism case can be heard.

Allen alleges that Rowling's Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire plagiarised Jacobs' book Willy the Wizard.

Allen must pay costs to both Rowling and Bloomsbury across three installments in April, August and November, according to the Daily Mail. If Allen fails to make the payments, the case will be struck out and Allen will be ordered to pay all the defendants' costs of the action, said the judge, Justice David Kitchen. The hearing was held yesterday [21st March] in the Chancery Division of the High Court.

A spokesperson for Rowling said: "By his decision the judge recognised that the claimant's case only narrowly avoided being dismissed by him and that it was entirely reasonable to have sought Summary Judgment. The judge's findings support what J K Rowling has throughout the case maintained, that the claims made are not only unfounded but absurd".

In October 2010, Kitchen said it was "improbable" the case would ultimately succeed, and said he would issue an order forcing the estate to meet certain conditions if the case was to continue.

Jacob's estate claims Rowling's agent Christopher Little was given a copy of Willy the Wizard, which he later passed on to Rowling. 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".

The case will be heard over 10 days in February 2012, provided the payments are made.