Meghan Markle demands £1.5m legal fees after winning High Court privacy case

2 March 2021, 17:51 | Updated: 2 March 2021, 19:42

Meghan sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over five articles from 2019
Meghan sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over five articles from 2019. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

The Duchess of Sussex is seeking £1.5 million in legal costs from the Mail On Sunday and wants MailOnline to publish a statement on its homepage for at least six months saying she won her High Court privacy case.

Meghan, 39, sued Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), the publisher of the Mail On Sunday and MailOnline, over five articles from February 2019.

The articles reproduced parts of a "heartfelt" handwritten letter sent to her estranged father Thomas Markle.

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She took legal action for alleged misuse of her private information, copyright infringement and breach of the Data Protection Act.

Last month, she was granted summary judgment in relation to her privacy claim, meaning she won that part of the case without having to go to trial, as well as most of her copyright claim.

At a hearing on Tuesday it also emerged that Meghan wants the Mail On Sunday to hand over any copies of the letter and destroy any electronic copies or notes made about it.

She is also demanding the newspaper publish a statement on its front page saying she won the case.

At the remote hearing, Lord Justice Warby ordered ANL to make an "interim payment on account" of Meghan's legal costs of £450,000, with additional payment towards costs possible in the future.

He also dismissed an application by ANL for permission to appeal against last month's ruling.

The judge said he needed to consider whether there was "a real prospect of the Court of Appeal reaching a different conclusion" to him, and added: "I see no real prospect of that."

He added: "The Court of Appeal, of course, may take a different view and the defendant has a right to renew this application to a Court of Appeal judge."

ANL, which had said it was going to appeal against the ruling on 10 grounds, can still apply to the Court of Appeal.

Lord Justice Warby refused to make any order for "delivery up or destruction" of any copies of Meghan's letter to her father "at this stage".

He also said he would make "a limited order for publication and dissemination" of the result of the summary judgment application, but that it would be "considerably more limited than the order sought".

He said the details of the order for publication and his reasons for granting it would be provided in a written ruling, to be handed down at a later date.

Lord Justice Warby ruled that any "financial remedies" to be granted to Meghan for misuse of private information would be considered at a further hearing in late April or early May.

The judge said that hearing would also deal with Meghan's claim under the Data Protection Act, as well as "the issue of copyright ownership".