October 30: Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex, on Thursday won her plea for a delay in her ongoing High Court legal action in London over breach of privacy against ‘The Mail on Sunday’ newspaper owners Associated Newspaper Limited (ANL).
Justice Mark Warby said the trial, due to be held in January 2021, would be adjourned for a confidential reason until later next year.
“The right decision in all the circumstances is to grant the application to adjourn,” the judge said, news agency PTI reported. “That means that the trial date of January 11, 2021, will be vacated and the trial will be re-fixed for a new date in the autumn,” he said.
Under the confidential reasons, Markle has reportedly asked for the trial not to be held before October 15 next year.
Meanwhile, a hearing early next year will consider a related summary judgment application by Markle’s lawyers for the whole case to be dismissed on the basis that the evidence in her favour is “overwhelming“.
Thursday’s hearing was conducted in private via video link to protect “the confidentiality of the information relied on” by Markle in her application to postpone the trial.
The 39-year-old, who is now based in the U.S. after she and husband Prince Harry stepped back as frontline royals, is suing ANL over the publication of parts of a handwritten letter to her 76-year-old father, Thomas Markle, in the ‘Mail on Sunday’ and ‘MailOnline’ in August 2018.
The former actress says the use of the letter was a breach of copyright, infringement of her privacy, and breaches the UK Data Protection Act.
Publishers ANL wholly deny the allegations, including the claim that the letter was edited in any way that changed its meaning, and have pledged to strongly contest the case.
Last month, the court had ruled in favour of ANL to allow them to amend its case to include details from a recently published biography of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Finding Freedom. ANL argued that the royals had “collaborated” with the book’s authors but Markle’s lawyers said that was a “conspiracy theory”.