The lawyer who represented Ben Stokes and his mother Deborah in their legal action against The Sun says he was left "scratching his head" at the paper's decision to publish an insensitive article.

Paul Lunt says the "human cost" of their front page story "is greater than will ever be known".

England's Cumbrian cricket star Ben and mum Deb recently reached a settlement with the newspaper over the article published in September 2019.

The Sun accepted they should not have run the story, which was about a tragic family incident that took place in 1988, apologised, and paid damages and the Stokes's legal costs.

Mr Lunt, partner and head of litigation at law firm Brabners, has now spoken about the case.

In an article in Law Gazette, he said: "For years now, privacy cases have been a developing area of the law and this case had some interesting features, including the fact that much of what was published here was already in the public domain, at least in New Zealand.

"But from the very outset, I was scratching my head as to how the paper thought that it was acceptable [let alone a good commercial decision] to contemplate publishing such intensely private and sensitive material.

"The human cost to the Stokes family was greater than will ever be known.

"The paper’s decision to publish and profit from the personal grief of Deborah and Ben was one that they were not prepared to let go. I was particularly pleased that the paper’s apology included an express acknowledgement that the article should never have been published.

"This was a case where it was hard to put aside your emotions and stick to the legal issues. The witness statement of Debs, in particular, was a tough read no matter how many times you had read it before."

The Sun had initially defended their right to publish the story, claiming "the tragedy [was already] a matter of public record", that the article included an on-the-record interview with a member of the family, and that they had approached Ben for a comment before publication.

But two years later they confirmed they had agreed a settlement with the Stokes family, publishing their apology on their website at 11.45pm on August 29.

The apology said: "The article caused great distress to the Stokes family, and especially to Deborah Stokes. We should not have published the article. We apologise to Deborah and Ben Stokes. We have agreed to pay them damages and their legal costs."

Ben Stokes, at the time the story was published, described The Sun's actions as "heartless" and "the lowest form of journalism".

After the settlement was agreed, Deb Stokes said: "The decision to publish this article was a decision to expose, and to profit from exposing, intensely private and painful matters within our family. The suffering caused to our family by the publication of this article is something we cannot forgive.

“Ben and I can take no pleasure in concluding this settlement with The Sun. We can only hope that our actions in holding the paper to account will leave a lasting mark, and one that will contribute to prevent other families from having to suffer the same pain as was inflicted on our family by this article.”

The cricket star, who grew up in Cockermouth, is currently taking an indefinite break from the sport to "prioritise his mental well-being."