The Oxford Student understands that the complaint relates to a story run last month in which scans were used of archive issues of the student paper without permission.
Max Bossino, chair of Oxford Student Publications Ltd (OSPL), which publishes Cherwell, confirmed that OSPL has a legal matter with The Sunday Times.
He said: “OSPL exists to support independent student journalism, and will protect its rights in its publications when required.”
He declined to comment further on their “legal matter with The Sunday Times” as it “remains unresolved”.
A spokesperson for News International said: “We have received a complaint from Oxford Student Publications Limited and are dealing with it accordingly.”
It was confirmed by the spokesperson that the legal matter pertains to an article published by The Sunday Times on 20th January, and reposted on their website, entitled ‘High jinks of the high and mighty’.
It claimed to “delve into the Oxford student archive to uncover the spicy past of politicians” by unveiling stories of “squabbling love rivals, kidnap and squeaky leather trousers”.
The article reportedly looks among “the bound archives of Cherwell” to reveal the “youthful indiscretions of the great and the good”, many of them stripped from the ‘John Evelyn’ gossip column.
Examples of incidents reported in The Sunday Times include Michael Gove’s “five-in-a-bed-romp shocker”, Tory MP Mark Field circling the Teddy Hall quad in his boxer shorts having been “liberally covered in baby oil” by his girlfriend and William Hague being nicknamed “Chipmunk chops”.
The article states: “After the revelations last week that Dominic Grieve, now attorney-general, had been part of a gang that threw the now police minister Damian Green into the Cherwell River, The Sunday Times has uncovered more alleged misdemeanours among his colleagues during their university days.”
It is understood that these stories were “uncovered” with the assistance of Tom Beardsworth, a Deputy Editor of Cherwell who aided a reporter for The Sunday Times in searching through the archive.
However, allegedly scans taken of old copies of Cherwell were then used in the national paper’s article without receiving permission from OSPL.
OSPL claimed that Beardsworth would face no internal disciplinary action as “no students were ultimately involved in OSPL’s legal matter with The Sunday Times”.
Beardsworth declined to comment on the issue.