A High Court Judge has approved a request by the Duchess of Sussex to delay her privacy trial until Autumn 2021.
The trial was originally due to take place in January 2021 – however, the court has approved Meghan’s application to vacate her trial, with a new date to be confirmed in the Autumn.
Associated Newspapers did not oppose the delay to the trial after hearing confidential reasons from Meghan’s lawyers as to why a new date was needed.
In addition to the “confidential ground”, lawyers acting for the Duchess wanted a delay due to the fact the Mail on Sunday can now rely on the biography Finding Freedom as part of their defence.
Meghan’s lawyers claim that they have now had to undertake more work in relation to the privacy case, and as such, require an extension in time.
Last month, the High Court ruled that the Mail on Sunday can rely on ‘Finding Freedom’ as a source of defence in their arguments.
A Preliminary Hearing took place in September to establish whether the Mail on Sunday could seek the court’s permission to amend its written defence, arguing that Meghan “co-operated with the authors of the recently published book ‘Finding Freedom’ to put out their version of certain events”.
Lawyers representing the Duchess say that neither she or Prince Harry “collaborated with the authors.”
In the previous hearing, Justin Rushbrooke QC said: “The claimant and her husband did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it, nor did they provide photographs to the authors for the book.”
However, Master Kaye of the Chancery Division’s judgment means that the couple can be accused of “collaborating” with the authors, with the matter to be used as a defence by the Mail at trial next year.
Finding Freedom, written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, was released in August 2020.
Meghan is suing Associated Papers over five articles which were published in February 2019. These stories, published in the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, reproduced parts of a letter she wrote to Thomas Markle shortly after her wedding to Prince Harry in 2018.
The publisher argues that the had no reasonable expectation of privacy and that she anticipated publication of the letter.