Crown Prosecution Service legal adviser Alison Levitt told reporters there was sufficient evidence to consider charges against eight suspects answering bail today.
Alongside former News International chief executive Mrs Brooks and ex-News of the World editor Mr Coulson, also formerly director of communications for prime minister David Cameron, are Stuart Kuttner, Glenn Mulcaire, Greg Miskiw, Ian Edmondson, Neville Thurlbeck and James Weatherup.
With the exception of Mr Mulcaire, all have been charged with conspiring to intercept communications, namely voicemails, without lawful authority between October 3 2000 and August 9 2006.
The Metropolitan police’s phone hacking investigation Operation Weeting had passed on 13 files to prosecutors, with three unnamed individuals today exonerated.
Ms Levitt told reporters the CPS was considering charges against two other people.
She added that the eight suspects being charged today would later appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on a date to be determined.
Mrs Brooks faces two additional charges of conspiracy to unlawfully intercept communications relating to the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler and Andrew Gilchrist.
Mr Coulson will face four additional charges relating to Ms Dowler, former Labour home secretaries David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, as well as Calum Best.
Mr Kuttner, the News of the World’s former managing editor, faces nine further charges relating to Ms Dowler, former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson, Abi Titmuss and John Leslie, Mr Gilchrist, Mr Blunkett, TV chef Delia Smith, Mr Clarke and Wayne Rooney, as well as Jude Law, Sadie Frost and Sienna Miller.
Ex-News of the World news editor Mr Edmondson is being charged with a further 11 alleged offences relating to Mr Blunkett, Mr Clarke, Mr Law, Ms Frost and Ms Miller, former Liberal Democrat MP Mark Oaten, Mr Rooney, Mr Best, Labour MP Tessa Jowell and her estranged husband David Mills, former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott, Professor John Tulloch, Lord Frederick Windsor and Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills.
Mr Thurlbeck, the former chief reporter at the News of the World, faces a further seven charges relating to Ms Dowler, Mr Eriksson, Mr Blunkett, Mr Clarke, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, Mr Oaten and Ms Jowell and Mr Mills.
Mr Weatherup, a journalist at the News of the World, will face a further seven charges relating to Mr Blunkett, Mr Clarke, Mr Law, Ms Frost and Ms Miller, Ms Jolie and Mr Pitt, Mr Rooney, Lord Prescott and Sir Paul and Ms Mills.
For legal reasons Mr Mulcaire does not face the first charge the other seven suspects have been charged with but does face four charges relating to Ms Dowler, Mr Gilchrist, Ms Smith and Mr Clarke.
‘May I remind all concerned that these eight individuals now will be charged with criminal offences and that each has a right to a fair trial,’ Ms Levitt said.
‘It is very important that nothing is said, or reported, which could prejudice that trial. For these reasons it would be inappropriate for me to comment further.’
In a statement, Mrs Brooks said she would ‘vigorously defend’ the allegations against her.
‘I am not guilty of these charges. I did not authorise, nor was I aware of, phone hacking under my editorship,’ she said.
‘I am distressed and angry that the CPS have reached this decision when they knew all the facts and were in a position to stop the case at this stage.’
Mrs Brooks added: ‘The charge concerning Milly Dowler is particularly upsetting, not only as it is untrue but also because I have spent my journalistic career campaigning for victims of crime.’