Meghan Markle is ending her week with a major legal victory in the UK. Judge Mark Warby ruled in the Duchess of Sussex’s favor on her High Court privacy claim against Associated Newspapers, the publishers of The Mail on Sunday and Mail Online, which ran excerpts of her private handwritten letter to her father, Thomas Markle, in multiple articles without her consent.
According to ITV’s Chris Ship, the judge said, “The claimant had a reasonable expectation that the contents of the Letter would remain private. The Mail Articles interfered with that reasonable expectation.”
This summary judgement means that Meghan will not have to go to trial to argue the publication of her letter infringed her privacy against Associated Newspapers. The only issues that would be heard in court are those relating to ownership of copyright. The Duchess’ legal team, for context, was suing for breach of privacy, including copyright infringement, misuse of private information, and breach of the U.K.’s Data Protection Act.
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The Duchess released a statement shortly after the ruling’s announcement. She said:
After two long years of pursuing litigation, I am grateful to the courts for holding Associated Newspapers and The Mail on Sunday to account for their illegal and dehumanizing practices. These tactics (and those of their sister publications MailOnline and the Daily Mail) are not new; in fact, they’ve been going on for far too long without consequence. For these outlets, it’s a game. For me and so many others, it’s real life, real relationships, and very real sadness. The damage they have done and continue to do runs deep.
The world needs reliable, fact-checked, high-quality news. What The Mail on Sunday and its partner publications do is the opposite. We all lose when misinformation sells more than truth, when moral exploitation sells more than decency, and when companies create their business model to profit from people’s pain. But for today, with this comprehensive win on both privacy and copyright, we have all won. We now know, and hope it creates legal precedent, that you cannot take somebody’s privacy and exploit it in a privacy case, as the defendant has blatantly done over the past two years.
I share this victory with each of you—because we all deserve justice and truth, and we all deserve better.
I particularly want to thank my husband, mom, and legal team, and especially Jenny Afia for her unrelenting support throughout this process.
Meghan’s case hearing was initially delayed until fall 2021. Now, today’s summary ruling will drastically change how any potential trial would look.
A source close to Meghan told ELLE.com in October, after her case was delayed, that her legal team was confident in their case based on the facts of law: “We do not believe that the defense’s case has chance of succeeding, and do not believe there is a compelling reason for trial,” the source said.
“We are confident in our case and therefore believe it should be determined on a summary basis, and will make that case at the hearing in January,” a source close to the Duchess added.
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