Prince Moulay Hicham receives apology and substantial damages

Libel and data protection claim settles after Elaph makes offer of amends

His Highness Prince Moulay Ben Abdallah Al Alaoui of Morocco has secured an apology together with payment of substantial damages and his legal costs from Elaph Publishing Limited, a London based Arabic news website.

The Prince had sued in defamation and under the Data Protection Act 1998 over an article on, in a claim which went to the Court of Appeal on the issues of whether it is permissible to combine data protection inaccuracy claims with libel claims, and on defamatory meaning. The Court of Appeal ruled in the Prince’s favour on both issues. The Supreme Court refused permission to appeal, despite an intervention from the Media Lawyers’ Association.

Elaph, which had never claimed to have any substantive defences to the Prince’s claims, subsequently conceded that the article was false and defamatory in the meanings complained of, published an apology, and agreed to pay substantial compensation. In respect of the data protection claim, Elaph agreed to correct the inaccurate personal data that related to the Prince, to erase that personal data, not to republish the article in the future, and to pay damages. It agreed to pay the Prince’s costs of both claims.

In his Statement in Open Court, read today before Mr Justice Warby, the Prince expressed his gratitude for obtaining public vindication, noting that “the litigation has attracted some commentary which is regrettably inaccurate and ill-informed.”

5RB‘s Justin Rushbrooke QC and Richard Munden, instructed by Mike Brookes and Leo Dawkins of Lee & Thompson, acted for His Highness the Prince.

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