Phone hacking: Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson in 2013 trial

Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson
Image caption Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson are among those who appeared at the Old Bailey in London

Former News International boss Rebekah Brooks and ex-Downing Street communications chief Andy Coulson have learned their trial over phone-hacking claims will take place next September.

They are among seven ex-News of the World staff accused of conspiracy to access voicemails. Prosecutors say the charge could involve about 600 victims.

Private investigator Glenn Mulcaire, facing four counts relating to specific people, was also at the Old Bailey.

A 9 September 2013 trial date was set.

The former staff members from the now-defunct News of the World newspaper who are also facing trial are its ex-managing editor Stuart Kuttner, former news editor Greg Miskiw, former head of news Ian Edmondson, ex-reporter James Weatherup and former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck.

As well as a general conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications charge, other charges relate to specific people.

Mr Coulson was News of the World editor from 2003 to 2007 and Mrs Brooks edited the paper from 2000 to 2003, before moving on to edit the Sun and then becoming chief executive officer of the two papers' parent group News International.

Mr Kuttner was excused from attending Wednesday's hearing.

The provisional trial date was set for 9 September next year and all defendants were released on bail.

In a separate case, Mrs Brooks, 44, from Churchill in Oxfordshire, her husband, Charlie, and five others appeared before the court accused of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Mrs Brooks's chauffeur Paul Edwards, former personal assistant Cheryl Carter, head of security at News International Mark Hanna, and security staff Daryl Jorsling and Lee Sandell also face the charges.

They relate to an alleged attempt to hide evidence from police investigating phone-hacking claims and illegal payments to public officials by the News of the World and the Sun.