Judgment handed down in Duchess of Sussex’s case against Mail on Sunday

Court finds for Associated Newspapers in pre-trial application in privacy case brought by the Duchess of Sussex

Earlier today judgment was handed down by the High Court in a pre-trial application by Associated Newspapers Ltd, publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, in an action against it brought by the Duchess of Sussex (formerly Meghan Markle) for misuse of private information and breach of data protection rights.  The action concerns the publication by the defendant publisher of several articles that reported the contents of, or contained extracts from, a letter sent by the Duchess to her father.

The Defendant sought to strike out some of the allegations in the Claimant’s Particulars of Claim.

The hearing was conducted remotely.

The Defendant objected that parts of the Claimant’s pleaded case were irrelevant in law, or inadequately particularised or would be disproportionate to litigate.  These parts concerned allegations of the Defendant acting in bad faith, of the Defendant deliberately digging up or stirring up conflict between the Claimant and her father, and of the Claimant being distressed by the Defendant’s “obvious agenda of publishing intrusive or offensive stories about [her] intended to portray her in a false and damaging light”.

The Court agreed that all three categories of allegation should be struck out of the Particulars of Claim.  The Court also agreed that passages of the Claimant’s Reply should be struck out.  Some of these conclusions are however without prejudice to the Claimant’s right to seek permission to make amendments that do comply with the applicable law and principles.

The judgment can be download from the ‘Files’ link below.

5RB‘s David Sherborne, instructed by Schillings International LLP appeared for the Claimant; 5RB‘s Alexandra Marzec, instructed by Reynolds Porter Chamberlain LLP appeared for the Defendant.