Latest stage of Meghan’s action against Associated Newspapers due at High Court

The next stage of the Duchess of Sussex's legal action against a British newspaper is due to be heard at the High Court (Chris Jackson/PA)
The next stage of the Duchess of Sussex's legal action against a British newspaper is due to be heard at the High Court (Chris Jackson/PA) (PA Wire)
10:26am, Mon 21 Sep 2020
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The next stage in the Duchess of Sussex’s legal action against a British newspaper over its publication of a “private and confidential” letter to her estranged father is due to be heard at the High Court.

Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers (ANL), publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, over an article which reproduced parts of the handwritten letter sent to Thomas Markle, 76, in August 2018.

Sections of the letter were published in the newspaper and online in February last year, and it was announced the duchess would be bringing legal action in October

A costs and case management hearing is due to take place before Master Francesca Kaye on Monday.

The hearing is expected to deal with issues such as the timetable for naming witnesses, the trial date, a cap on legal costs and an application by Associated Newspapers’ lawyers to amend their defence ahead of the trial.

Last month, the duchess, 39, won the most recent tussle in the legal action after Mr Justice Warby ruled in her favour over protecting the identities of five friends who gave an anonymous interview to a US magazine.

The senior judge said he had concluded that “for the time being at least” Meghan should be granted an order which protects the identities of the individuals.

Meghan’s lawyers had applied for the five friends who gave an interview to People magazine to remain anonymous in reports of the proceedings.

ANL’s legal team resisted the application.

In the People article, published in February last year, the friends spoke out against the bullying Meghan said she has faced.

They have only been identified in confidential court documents.

Following the ruling last month, a source said the duchess was “happy” with the decision.

Meghan is suing ANL over five articles in total, two in the MoS and three on MailOnline, which were published in February 2019 and reproduced parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her father in August 2018.

The headline on the article read: “Revealed: The letter showing true tragedy of Meghan’s rift with a father she says has ‘broken her heart into a million pieces’.”

The duchess is seeking damages from ANL for alleged misuse of private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.

ANL wholly denies the allegations, particularly the duchess’s claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and says it will hotly contest the case.

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