Author who accused JK Rowling of plagiarism ordered to pay £1.5m `security`

Updated: Mar 22, 2011, 13:12 PM IST

London: A man who claimed that JK Rowling`s fourth ‘Harry Potter’ book was copied from another work has been ordered to pay more than 1.5 million pounds into court as security for the costs of the author and her publisher - or the case will be struck out.

Justice Kitchin made the order at a hearing in the Chancery Division of the High Court.

The claim has been brought by Paul Allen, trustee of the estate of the late Adrian Jacobs, who died in 1997, who alleges that the ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’, was plagiarized from Jacobs` book, ‘Willy the Wizard,’ reports the Daily Mail.

Allen is suing Rowling and her publisher, Bloomsbury, for some 5 million pounds.

Kitchen last year rejected an application by Rowling and Bloomsbury to strike the case out - although he said it had only an “improbable” chance of success.

Now he has ordered Allen to make a series of staged payments into court as security for 65 per cent of the costs faced by Rowling and Bloomsbury.

He said Allen should pay 322.691 pounds for Bloomsbury`s costs and 571,613 pounds for Rowling`s costs by April 21, with a further 24,650 pounds for Bloomsbury`s costs and 178,441 pounds for Rowling`s costs to follow by August 5.

The final payments - 129,373 pounds for Bloomsbury`s costs and 318,975 pounds for Rowling`s - must be made by November 11.

The judge said failure to make any of the payments into court by the specified time would lead to the claim being struck out and Allen being ordered to pay all the defendants`` costs of the action.

Rowling had described the claim that her book was copied from ‘Willy the Wizard’ as “not only unfounded but absurd”, and said she had never even seen the book until the claim was launched in 2004.

Justice Kitchin said that while Allen`s claim was not so bad as to be fanciful, it was improbable that it would succeed - and the chances of success were so poor that the court was justified in exercising its discretion to make an order for payments as security for the defendants`` costs.