Whatever the PR and political merits of the decision to close the News of the World, it makes no legal difference whatsoever in respect of the phone-hacking scandal. The applicable criminal and civil legal obligations are owed by News International and the individuals concerned. All that has happened is a withdrawal of a branded product from the marketplace. The product in question may well be a venerable and famous newspaper, but the law will be blind to this.
The criminal investigation and the civil actions against News International and the relevant individuals will continue as before.
David Allen Green is legal correspondent of the New Statesman.