Prince fails to stop journals’ trial

... but summary judgment granted against Mail on Sunday on Hong Kong diary

The Prince of Wales’s legal case against the Mail on Sunday should go forward to a full trial, the High Court ruled today.


The Prince brought the case after the newspaper published extracts from his journal on the Hong Kong handover in 1997, in which he described Chinese diplomats as “appalling old waxworks”. In addition to the one journal from which extracts were printed, the newspaper had also obtained seven of the Prince’s other journals.


Prince Charles claimed that the article, which printed extracts from his journal entry entitled The Handover of Hong Kong – or The Great Chinese Takeaway, was a breach of copyright and publication of any extracts from the eight journals would be a breach of his privacy. The Prince sought summary judgment to avoid a full High Court trial.


Mr Justice Blackburne held that the Mail on Sunday had infringed the Prince’s confidentiality and copyright by printing the Hong Kong extracts and dismissed the newspaper’s arguments that publication was in the public interest. However, the judge ordered that the Prince’s other claims in relation to the unpublished journals should go forward to a full trial.


Announcing an immediate appeal against the judgment, Liz Hartley, solicitor for the paper said:


“It cannot be right for the heir to the throne to engage in political controversy and at the same time insist on his right to privacy while he does so.”


Click here for the 5RB case report and full judgment.


5RB‘s Mark Warby QC and Christina Michalos (instructed by Reynolds Porter Chamberlain) acted for Associated Newspapers Ltd.