Meghan Markle's court battle to avoid privacy trial and public showdown with dad Thomas to be live streamed online

THE latest showdown in Meghan Markle's court battle will be live streamed online as it unfolds next week.

Meghan, 39, is suing Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, for publishing a letter she sent to her estranged dad that she claimed was private.

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The case could see an emotional showdown between the Duchess of Sussex and her father Thomas Markle – who has previously said he was willing to take the stand in any upcoming trial.

However, last year Meghan's legal team lodged an application for a Summary Judgment, arguing there isn't a compelling reason for a trial.

A two-day hearing over whether the case can avoid trial will now be held next week – with it to be held online due to Covid restrictions.

And Mr Justice Warby, the judge presiding over the case, ruled the public would be able to log in to the hearing in a first for the Chancery Division of the Royal Courts of Justice.

Strict rules will be put in place for those hoping to attend the virtual hearing.

People will first need to apply, giving their names, mobile numbers and email addresses while agreeing to follow contempt laws – meaning they must not record or share images of the proceedings.

Applicants must also submit their request by 4pm tomorrow.

The ten-day trial had previously been set down to take place in London on January 11 however the duchess won a bid to delay it until at least autumn.

What is a Summary Judgment?

The court may give summary judgment against a claimant or defendant on the whole of a claim or on a particular issue if it is agreed that:

  • The claimant has no real prospect of succeeding on the claim
  • The defendant has no real prospect of successfully defending the claim
  • There is another compelling reason why the case or issue should be disposed of at trial

The Duchess is seeking damages from the Mail on Sunday for alleged misuse of private information, breaching the Data Protection Act and infringement of copyright over five articles published in February 2019 which included extracts from the "private and confidential" letter to her father.

And while the case could go to trial, it was previously reported the duchess' legal team were expected to claim witnesses do not need to give evidence.

The case will then be closed if Mr Justice Warby accepts Meghan's lawyer’s request for a summary judgment.

However, if he does not, the case will continue forward for a hearing later this year.

The prospect of a trial has sent shockwaves throughout as palace royal aides may be expected to give evidence.

Publisher Associated Newspapers has previously claimed Prince Harry's wife had herself leaked details of the letter to the media through friends.

The publisher argued that Meghan was "pleased" when five friends spoke up to defend her in an interview with People Magazine, which mentioned the letter.

Last year the publisher sought permission to amend its defence to argue Meghan "co-operated with the authors of the recently published book Finding Freedom to put out their version of certain events" – something denied by the duchess.


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