Duchess Meghan granted £450,000 interim payment in legal costs in court case

By Heather Cichowski and Zach Harper, with files from Danielle Stacey

Duchess Meghan has been granted an interim payment of £450,000 (approximately $795,000) in legal costs in her privacy case against Associated Newspapers Ltd. (ANL), the publishers of Mail On Sunday and MailOnline.

The Duchess of Sussex sued ANL for infringement of privacy, breach of copyright and breach of the Data Protection Act over articles that included parts of a handwritten letter she had sent to her father, Thomas Markle, in 2018.

MORE: Duchess Meghan wins bid to avoid High Court trial in privacy case

On Feb. 11, Lord Justice Warby granted Meghan a "summary judgment" over her claim of the misuse of private information in the case. Then, he ruled there were aspects of the copyright claim to resolve.

On March 2, Lord Justice Warby also dismissed ANL's application for permission to appeal against last month's ruling, saying it had "no real prospect" of success.

"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," he added.

The Royal Courts of Justice, home to the High Court, in London. Photo: © DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images

In the virtual hearing on March 2, Meghan's legal team had asked for £750,000 (approximately $1.3 million) of £1.5 million (approximately $2.6 million) in costs to be paid within two weeks, but Lord Justice Warby said there are additional aspects of the case to be determined, such as copyright.

He added he will decide "financial remedies" for Meghan for the misuse of private information in a later hearing in the spring. That hearing will also address the duchess' Data Protection Act claim and "the issue of copyright ownership," according to The Guardian.

Also on March 2, Meghan's team asked the High Court to order ANL to return any copies of the handwritten letter sent to her father and to destroy and delete any electronic copies or any note about it.

Ian Mill QC, who represented the duchess at the hearing, also applied for an injunction to "restrain the acts of copyright infringement and misuse of private information." Mr. Justice Warby said he would grant "a final injection restraining the misuse of private information," but it would not be related to Meghan's claim of copyright over the letter because that aspect of the case still needs to be resolved.

The duchess' legal team is also seeking a front page apology on Mail On Sunday and MailOnline.

Lord Justice Warby granting Meghan a summary judgment over her claim of private information on Feb. 11 removed the need for a full trial in the case, which was originally to take place in January.

MORE: Duchess Meghan wore Princess Diana's diamond tennis bracelet for her interview with Oprah Winfrey

After the Feb. 11 summary judgment, Meghan released a statement where she thanked Harry, her mother Doria Ragland and media and privacy lawyer Jenny Afia for their support.

The latest hearing comes ahead of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex's two-hour sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, which airs March 7 on CBS at 8 p.m. ET. The couple are also expecting their second child, which they revealed by releasing a sweet black-and-white portrait on Feb. 14.


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