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The Sussexes

The Duchess of Sussex requests delay to her privacy trial against the Mail on Sunday


Nils Jorgensen / i-Images

The Duchess of Sussex is to apply to the High Court to request a delay to her upcoming privacy trial against the Mail on Sunday which is due to be held in January 2021.

A judge will hear Meghan’s request in a preliminary court hearing on Wednesday.

The Duchess is requesting a delay to proceedings due to the fact that 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.

The Duchess of Sussex will request that the court makes a Summary Judgment. This is where a judge decides that a trial is unnecessary and the ruling can be made in a summary basis.

A summary judgment would mean the Duchess of Sussex would not be required to give evidence at any trial in person.

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.