Key Points:

The New Zealand author of a controversial book on a disastrous mission by the British Special Air Services has lost the battle to have his legal fees covered by the book's proceeds.

Commando Mike Coburn's Soldier Five - the Real Story of the Bravo Two Zero Mission, was published in 2004 after a lengthy court battle with the British Ministry of Defence.

Coburn is the author's pseudonym.

The book tells the story of a patrol dropped behind enemy lines in Iraq in 1991. Three SAS members died and five, including Coburn, were captured. Coburn was tortured by the Iraqis.

The High Court ruled that proceeds from the book, minus Coburn's legal fees, were due to the ministry.

However, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday that the legal fees should be paid by Coburn.