The 22-year-old intends to sue the company's Daily Star title after editors published articles in July (15), which he believes imply he used drugs during an evening out with Justin Bieber and Cody Simpson.

Niall is one step closer to progressing with his lawsuit, according to The Guardian newspaper, after a judge dismissed an application from the Express group's lawyers for the case to be removed from court, insisting the stories did not bear the meaning alleged by the pop star.

The Irishman states in his lawsuit that the articles are defamatory, as they insinuate he used crystal meth or crack cocaine, with phrases such as “staring blankly” appearing in the piece, along with reference to rumours the "singers were using hard drugs” .

Mr Justice Dingemans at London’s High Court refused to stop the action, saying the article was capable of bearing the defamatory meaning claimed by Niall.

The judge added it was supported by the extensive reference to a drugs pipe, similar to those used in hit TV series Breaking Bad.

Meanwhile Niall has made no reference to the court case on social media, with his most recent tweets on Twitter focusing on his band's activities in America, including an appearance on The Late Late Show and promotional work in Texas, ahead of a planned 2016 hiatus.