Duchess Meghan ‘will be listening’ to today’s hearing on her case against the Mail

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex visit to Johannesburg, South Africa

A very important hearing is taking place today in London. The hearing is – from what I gather – something of an evidentiary hearing between the Duchess of Sussex and her lawyers versus the Mail on Sunday and their lawyers. Last year, Meghan sued the Mail for publishing her handwritten letter to her father and for completely misrepresenting her relationship to Thomas Markle and… possibly even paying him to read off scripts (written by Mail reporters) about her. Meghan has the text messages to prove what was really happening between herself and Toxic Tom, and the Mail has… questions about Meghan’s penmanship, basically.

Anyway, I’ve been wondering about this hearing all week – I’ve wondered if the hearing is why the Sussexes announced their refusal to work with British tabloids, and if it explains the timing of that statement. I’ve been wondering if this hearing will end up being the first in a long line of “wins” for the Sussexes too. Omid Scobie did a thread about it on Twitter which I found very informative:

The first hearing in the Duchess of Sussex’s lawsuits against the Mail on Sunday will take place today. It is being held virtually in front of the High Court’s Mr Justice Warby (of the Queen’s Bench Division) at 10:30am.

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan will be listening to the hearing when the duchess’ legal team is representing. I’m told that the couple have been encouraged to see truths beginning to come out and see today’s hearing as a procedural step in a longer legal process.

Today’s hearing was requested by the Mail on Sunday and the paper is hoping that it will result in allegations of acting dishonestly struck from the litigation. They are not disputing the allegation that the paper selectively chose parts of the letter (to fit a certain narrative)

There are still further steps needed before a trial can begin. The next stage will be a Case Management Conference, which is a chance for the court to identify and understand what the real issues in dispute are and to consider whether they can be narrowed.

[From Omid Scobie’s Twitter]

LOL, this checks out, right? “Today’s hearing was requested by the Mail on Sunday and the paper is hoping that it will result in allegations of acting dishonestly struck from the litigation.” How dare the Sussexes suggest that the Mail acted dishonestly [even if the Mail does not dispute that in many instances they did not report truthfully]. HOW DARE THEY! Yeah, I’m with the Sussexes – I hope this will be the first domino to fall in a larger tabloid-wig-snatching.

thomas1

Meghan Markle visits the mothers2mothers (m2m) charity in Cape Town,

Photos courtesy of The Sun, Backgrid.

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142 Responses to “Duchess Meghan ‘will be listening’ to today’s hearing on her case against the Mail”

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  1. aquarius64 says:

    So the Fail doesn’t dispute it selectively put PARTS of the letter out. So DM lied to the public about having the whole letter for all to see. I think they didn’t count on Meghan keeping a copy.

    • Lady D says:

      For what it’s worth, I have written countless letters to grandparents and friends. Not once in my life did it occur to me to keep a copy of any of those letters.
      (I know why Meghan did.)

      • Guest with Cat says:

        I almost always kept copies so I could remember what I said. Over the years I’ve had the misfortune of being enmeshed with dysfunctional friends and family who could hold your words against you even if they aren’t your words but what they want to gaslight you into thinking you said. Gee, who does that remind us of? Lol!

        But I also keep copies of correspondence with legit folks, too. Just as an easy reference to help me keep track of conversations. Now that we mostly communicate electronically it is just easy to keep copies of sent mails. Nobody questions that practice but I can see how it may seem strange to copy handwritten correspondence.

        It sounds like Meghan has had to keep track of money requests and money sent so that her dad can’t claim she doesn’t take care of him. It all sounds so similar to dealing with an extortionist.

        I apologize for any messed up posts. There are pop up ads that have caused me to lose the text entry page a couple of times. As far as ads go they’re acceptable but I need to get used to working around them. Anyway I’m a bit muddled this afternoon.

      • MsIam says:

        Hopefully LadyD you don’t have friends or family that act like Toxic Tom and Slimy Sam. I wonder if her mom is the one who told her to keep a copy. I have to believe that she’s tangled with him enough to know how he is. Plus if he was linking up with Slimy to profit off Meghan through the media, she probably knew not to trust him.

      • Feeshalori says:

        Lady D, I know why she kept a copy of that letter to her toxic father, without claiming I know her thoughts, and l can’t blame her one bit.

    • VS says:

      More than that, all the lies are getting expose. The Byline Investigates twitter has been great; when I think some continue to repeat those lies, it is amazing how such newspapers (especially tabloids) can have so much influence in a nation………anyway we have the orange man telling people to basically drink Clorox and some will do

      • Babz says:

        I think I am going to drop some $$s into the Crowdfunding that Byline is doing. They have consistently had her back, and I think that deserves a little contribution. Their Twitter live feed has been good.

    • I am Mimi says:

      I’m glad she did keep a copy.

    • BYk says:

      why would she keep a copy? do you keep copies of handwritten letters sent to your parents?

      • Olenna says:

        @BYK,
        This question has been discussed multiple times here, even today (above). Your guess, along with your usual negative bias, is as good as anyone’s.

      • Canadiancutie says:

        Makes you wonder if the time she spent filming “Suits” taught her a thing or two. It’s a law office based show that hubby and I have just started watching on Netflix. It’s actually really good and I really like her character on the show.

      • Marie says:

        If I had a father like Thomas Markle I would.

      • Scarlett says:

        I keep copies of handwritten letters to my parents. My mother is often abusive so I keep them for backup if she accuses me of stuff. My first draft always has mistakes so I have to copy the letter out again, I just keep the first draft.

      • L4frimaire says:

        Like some others have stated, she probably kept a copy because she probably had started several drafts, the tabloids were already printing BS and nasty stories about her, so wouldn’t be surprised if she was advised to keep copies of all correspondence,especially with her new position. The letter was written in August 2018, but published February 2019, 6 months later. Remember, Harry sent out that first letter to the press back in November 2016 to back off with the racist,sexist coverage of his then-girlfriend. Just makes sense to keep a copy with all that was going on then. I bet all the royals and other officials keep copies of all letters.

      • Nic919 says:

        Stop being a dumb troll. This has been asked and answered many times. Besides it won’t matter to her case. She is going to win the copyright aspect hands down and that’s going to burn the camb stans.

    • Tessa says:

      It really annoys me when her father is given excuses for his running to the media to bash his daughter. I see no excuse. None. She did not deserve it although some find her and actually call her ‘evil’ and applaud her father and her half sister Samantha.

      • L4frimaire says:

        Half the people saying she should just take it would never put up with this in their own life or would have jumped off a bridge under the pressure from it all. This behavior towards the wife of the 6th in line, who is not an elected official,has been insane and unhinged from the get go.Glad they’re suing and cut off all communication with those dishonest tabloids.

  2. Amy says:

    So is the entire court proceedings being done via Zoom or remote? I wonder if the US is doing that- I havent’ even thought how court cases were going to happen right now.

    Also I don’t understand how if the Daily Mail isn’t disputing they were not truthful then how can they as to have the acting dishonestly removed from the case? Are there different legal issues in the UK?

    • Tia says:

      Long documents are often edited when published. It’s not dishonest to do so *unless* you carefully choose which bits to leave out so that the overall document meets a particular narrative (which I think is clearly what’s happened here).

      It’s like if someone does a scholarly analysis of Trump’s ideas of how to address corona virus and page 1 details his claims. If pages 2-6 completely rebutting what was said are removed, it looks like you have an eminent scientist fully supporting what Trump had to say. That’s dishonest. If you just edit pages 2-6 down to 3 lines and one short quote, making it clear what the total document says, that isn’t.

      Lying about *having* the whole letter is a separate matter (and the distinction may be very relevant to damages).

    • Yoyo says:

      They’re trying to keep out other evidence of their dishonesty if/when the trial begans.
      Meghan’s lawyers are saying the defense want to keep them in a “straight jacket” only talk about the letter on which the case is about, but they want to use other evidence of the the DM lying.
      The reporter that wrote the story will be called in to testify.
      Basically the DM is crying uncle on the letter, because Meghan’s copy of the letter is part of the evidence.

      • Izzy says:

        THIS. All week I’ve been watching them and their reaction screams “panic” to me. They’re scared and I am really wondering now what else will come out at trial. I’m starting to wonder the same thing about KP with their sudden flurry of activity and PR.

    • Yoyo says:

      The dailyfail want the court to focus only on the letter, but Meghan’s lawyers want to show the other lies the DM said about her. The others Lies are what they strike from the case.

    • CommentingBunny says:

      About remote hearings – pretty much all jurisdictions have found a way to continue hearing cases remotely.

      Here in Ontario it was a Herculean effort to get the most urgent cases heard – eg child endangerment cases, people in custody waiting for bail hearings, etc.

      Just one example – the Courts worked with cell phone service providers to get hundreds of cell phones donated so that people who wouldn’t otherwise hav had access could have a remote hearings. Think women in shelters trying to protect their kids.

      The work the Courts did to protect access to justice through this has been awe-inspiring.

    • Nic919 says:

      In Ontario only urgent matters are being granted the ability to argue over zoom, with criminal and family matters taking a priority over civil matters. Civil matters essentially need to show that there is an imminent financial consequence for it to be heard.

      So in reality a motion over the pleadings like this one would not be heard in Ontario because it is not urgent.

      Trials have been cancelled here until September too and jury trials may take even longer.

      I have to think the UK isn’t handling many civil trials any time soon either because they involve many witnesses whereas motions have the counsel and judge only.

      • Redgrl says:

        Criminal trials in Ontario have been cancelled until June 1. Criminal jury trials until September 1. Waiting for an update but likely it will be extended beyond June 1.

      • Lara says:

        I just read that Michigan is trying to pilot a remote jury trial. Not really sure how well that’s going to work. Although- I did not know this at all- in the US immigration hearings are held remotely. They bring the defendant direct from their jail cell to face the judge by videoconference.

        Yes, land of the free, making amurica great again.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Depends on the court and what the state orders are. Federal courts, by district, have postponed many civil hearings or are doing them telephonically when possible. No jury trials at all. Criminal stuff is a bit trickier and is being given precedence over civil cases. In the individual states, it depends on how strict the shutdowns are. My state civil cases have all been rescheduled. I understand some criminal hearings are being handled telephonically- it depends on what resources are available. Court systems are often underfunded and aren’t always up to date technology-wise.

      • Lara says:

        But motion practice lives on. :(

      • Nic919 says:

        In Ontario we have a strict test for what is considered to be an urgent motion for civil matters. You need to submit your notice of motion and supporting affidavit prior to even having your motion considered to be scheduled. Judges are not going to waste their time on nonsense. To be frank, the pleadings motion being heard in the UK wouldn’t be considered urgent here.

      • Lara says:

        @Nic919
        It really varies in the US. I only ever see the civil side of things and somehow they all seem to be bench trials. One matter in particular, the judge is extremely adamant about adhering to his case scheduling order. Granted, we’re only at the beginning of discovery, but plaintiffs have produced 1 million documents so far, and this was right at the end of March. The pace of doc review is brutal.

      • Nic919 says:

        The pandemic has thrown the system here upside down. Ontario was 20 years behind with technology so now they have to move things up quickly. Plus we have a Supreme Court case that provides a tight deadline for criminal matters to be heard or else they can be dismissed for delay. So civil matters , which are also in the same court, get pushed to the side unless absolutely necessary. Family law splits between superior court and the lower court but it as well is prioritized over civil matters if resources are tight.

    • Amy says:

      Thank you everyone for the answers- appreciate it

    • Still_Sarah says:

      @ Amy : I did some civil litigation in my past life as a lawyer and it sounds like this is simply an interlocutory motion (a motion that happens after you file court documents and before you go to trial) and it sounds like the Daily Mail is trying to have one of Meghan Markles’ claims against the removed from the case. This does not mean that they are admitting anything about the other claims – they are simply saying they think this part of the claim is without merit (in their opinion) and should be dismissed outright before the case even begins because this will save the court time. We’ll see what the judge thinks! This is a preliminary defence move in a lawsuit – trying to narrow down the claims against it if there are multiple claims.

      • Lara says:

        @Still_Sarah
        Apologies if this comment pops up twice – I’ve been having issues with commenting from my phone.

        I am very confused now, since I honestly have no idea how the rules of procedure and pace of litigation operates in British courts – has discovery not already started? I assumed a lot more motion practice had already taken place and that discovery was complete. There had been mention somewhere that Meghan had already been deposed, and the reporting everywhere stating that the Defence would likely call Tom Markle as a witness gave me the impression that this was much closer to trial.

        In the absence of access to the docket and filings, I had assumed that this hearing was more along the lines of a summary judgment hearing, not a motion to strike. If it’s not, and they are still pre-discovery, then my interpretation of the letter H&M’s attorneys sent to the editors is completely different!

      • Nic919 says:

        I believe they are at pre discovery stage from what I can tell. I think we would have heard if Meghan had been examined for discovery.

      • Lara says:

        @Nic919
        I hope the lawyers at ANL are more professional than that.

        Sidenote – how are you dealing with WFH? I was fine initially, but now that I’m at week 6, I want to stab my laptop and mobile.

  3. Sofia says:

    Anyone keeping up with it? It’s happening right now.

    Edit: I am aware of BylineInvestigates Twitter but I was wondering if someone was watching the hearing itself

    • Yoyo says:

      I think about 32 people are watching they are from the media and law areas.
      This is not a trial, so it’s not open to the public.

  4. Osty says:

    The fail admits they were dishonest, but they are trying to plead for the judge to take it out of the whole lawsuit. Stating they only have to deal with just copyright issues since her avocado headline and other stories have no correlation to the letter for her ti site those as an examples. They just want to use this ,if they win (God forbids)to write headlines about how the court ruled they are not dishonest

    • Sofia says:

      And I think what Meghan and her lawyers are saying is that the stories are examples of the Fail’s dishonesty and that there is a pattern. Otherwise the Fail could end up saying “Oh it was just a one time thing! Never happened before!”

      • Becks1 says:

        Right, I think Meghan’s team wants to show that this was a pattern for the paper so it wasn’t just a harmless editing error or something. the paper was invested in pushing a certain narrative about Meghan’s relationship with her father and if you look at all the published stories its really obvious.

  5. Ali says:

    Like dailyfail is going to settle. They have no case.

  6. RoyalBlue says:

    ooh so nervous here. following this thread.

  7. Nic919 says:

    This sounds like the paper is bringing a motion to strike parts of the pleading. Usually the test for that is whether or not the pleading as made has any basis in reality. It is not a high test because the Plaintiff still needs to prove the allegations in their pleading on a balance of probabilities at trial. So they aren’t really excluding any evidence per se, but reviewing some of it to see where the allegations are coming from.

    Most of the articles I have seen in this aren’t explaining this properly and it’s obvious the authors of most of these articles don’t have any legal training. This is not an unusual tactic by Defendants to try and reduce the number of allegations that are being brought against them. It usually doesn’t work though unless the claim was poorly drafted.

    The case conference is just a meeting between counsel and the case management judge to determine the schedule of the remaining steps of the litigation and if there are any further motions that they anticipate bringing.

    • Noodle says:

      @nic919, thank you for the legal summary and explanation. My brain is not set up for any matter legal or financial; people can try to explain to me using the jargon and procedures and It’s like the teacher on Charlie Brown is talking. In both these fields, I appreciate those interpreters who put it into real language, without skewing or diminishing what’s being said.

    • DarlingDiana says:

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge. The seemed very straight forward to me, just typical, but I wasn’t sure.
      Any idea on how long such a hearing usually takes? Also, all long before a Judge renders a verdict?

      • Nic919 says:

        With everything being done virtually and not in person things may take longer than usual. Usually a pleadings motion doesn’t last longer than a day. Often even less than that.
        As for when the judge renders his or her reasons, that could be a few days to a few weeks. With no imminent trial scheduled there is no rush to make a determination on this quickly. And with the knowledge that there will be more public scrutiny and a likely appeal of the decision, I suspect the judge will take a bit of time to try to make the decision as appeal proof as possible. If the written submissions (facta and motion record) are well done, the judge may already have an idea of what the determination will be. Written advocacy is often more important than oratory skills. Judges know the law and lawyer dramatics don’t really matter to them much, especially when we are simply dealing with legal procedure arguments.

      • DarlingDiana says:

        Thanks again! I hope it all calls into place fairly quickly even though it is high profile.

    • Lara says:

      @Nic919
      I finally found the (redacted) filing with the particulars Defendants want to strike from her claim. Byline Investigates has a link on their website: https://www.keepandshare.com/doc5/27222/duchess-of-sussex-poc-11-10-strikeout-pdf-1-9-meg?da=y

      Provided for an interesting read, especially Para 19.8 under Remedies, which contains the articles Defendants want stricken from her claim.

      It seems like ANL is going for the low-hanging fruit – trying to get malicious intent thrown out and limiting the amount of damages Meghan would be entitled to should she prevail at trial.

      • Nic919 says:

        Interesting. I’m really not sure how they can remove the allegation of malicious intent. That is something that should be proved at trial not eliminated from the pleading.

    • Still_Sarah says:

      @ Nic919 : Great explanation in words that all the celebitchies could understand. You said it better than I did and I was a lawyer for 20 years! LOL.

  8. yinyang says:

    Good luck Meghan and Harry! I hope this brings about some much needed change. If a family member marries some you don’t like it’s is not okay to torment them until they commit suicide, it’s illegal.

    • Still_Sarah says:

      @ Yinyang : This is just a motion before trial. The motion in itself won’t likely bring about any change. The trial is still a long way off into the future. It will be interesting to see what happens there.

  9. Jean says:

    I completely agree with Kaiser’s view regarding the reason why Harry and Meghan had to send the letter to the British tabloids. There must be legal reasons for them doing that. Totally legal reasons.

    Second, we are living in economic turbulent times. COVID 19 has caused economic difficulties for many companies. Could it be that the British tabloids are suffering financially right now and if Meghan wins her lawsuit and the damages are hefty, that would inflict a serious blow to the tabloids? The timing of the lawsuit is PERFECT!!!! Who knew.

    • PrincessK says:

      Of course, because the Daily Mail likes to give the impression that the Sussex PR machine are supplying them with news, which has not been the case. Very good move on their part.

  10. Watson says:

    Lainey Gossip has a pretty good explanation of why the Sussex legal team sent the press letter. It actually made sense. At first i too thought it was wildly ill timed and redundant. Like don’t we already know they hate the tabloids? Aren’t we all busy struggling with a pandemic? But after reading her post that was informed by lawyer I’m on board with what they did. Curious to see what happens now!!

    • Natalee says:

      Tons of people commented on that post with the exact same reasoning, but for some reason a few people still kept screeching a lot bad optics!!!!!

    • Redgrl says:

      @watson – yes, that was my theory too – I had posted it on one of the threads here yesterday. Knowledge & intent going forward.

    • L4frimaire says:

      I read that and knew it made sense legally. The Sussexes are not just putting statements out there randomly or to score media points. Lainey is really obsessed with the PR aspects of things so glad someone laid out the legal reasons they did what they did. They had to let each individual tabloid know they were not going to deal with them for future legal protection. She seemed to accept that legal explanation somewhat begrudgingly.

    • windyriver says:

      That’s a great explanation by the lawyer on Lainey’s site. So the critical part of H&M’s letter is: “…please note that The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be engaging with your outlet. There will be no corroboration and zero engagement.” No contact, no consent.

      The bulk of it explains to the world at large why they are at this point, and clarifies their philosophy. This isn’t censorship. They fully support accurate and responsible journalism, including when they are subjects of criticism. What they reject is reporting via lies and distortion for economic purposes, and unreasonably invasive tactics that negatively impact them, and those in their orbit.

      As @Watson says, under other circumstances this letter is redundant, and also pointless, since the Sussexes won’t be working publically for a while. But they are part of a legal action that just started and is likely to take months, which means media will be writing about them – and that has to be why this was released now. A message to the public at large, not to wholesale believe what these outlets are reporting; and possibly, a basis for future legal action against those outlets.

  11. Sofia says:

    From the people who are actually listen to this, it seems the Judge is on the Mail’s side at this point in time. He’s saying how it’s not reasonable for the Mail to know all the particulars

    • Lisa says:

      Crap.

    • panda says:

      The judge was just telling Meghan’s lawyers that they had to set out more particulars instead of making the Mail guess what they mean on a certain point. Meghan’s lawyers then agree to “set it all out.”

      • aquarius64 says:

        That may mean burning Daddy.

      • Nic919 says:

        Asking for more particulars means the original allegation stays in the pleading and more detail is added. It’s actually a good thing.

      • L4frimaire says:

        I think it is premature and a bit overblown to say a judge is in favor of one party because of one particular call out. This isn’t some run of the mill case and will not be resolved quickly. Unless we have legal expertise, we’ll just have to let it play out.

    • Aria says:

      Most judge in uk are pro right wing that’s why they have crap media policy. Also those judges are upper class like boris and well bred. I don’t have much hope because how boris johnson get away with his false claim.

      • RoyalBlue says:

        aria that’s my feeling too. lady justice is not blind. just as a black person facing an all white jury for trial in 1920 is guilty before uttering a word, I fear for meghan.

  12. trixie says:

    Good. Now all will come out good and bad and it will finally be done and over. Also most of it should be thrown out since all this case is about is copyright infringement. Not all the other little additions and I am sure their lawyers know this an simply want it on record.

  13. aquarius64 says:

    The Fail is arguing how could Meghan claimed Toxic Tom was harassed by them when she hasn’t spoken to him in two years. The Fail is setting Daddy up to take the fall; that he is a willing participant in the attacks and not manipulated by the paper. They still trying to get around the letter as contact. Meghan’s lawyers may have more.

  14. Whatnow says:

    Will the court rule today?

  15. Sofia says:

    Okay so the motion/whatever the legal term for this was is over. The Judge hasn’t made any judgements at this moment and makes no promises on when he will but aims to get one made within a week.

    Also the Fail’s lawyer won’t deny that the articles Meghan’s lawyer brought up were false but he also says that those articles doesn’t mean that there is evidence that the Fail has any malice towards Meghan

    • panda says:

      The Mail’s lawyer said that nine articles are alleged to be false but that number isn’t enough to prove legal malice. The truth or falsity of the articles isn’t being argued in this hearing, only whether certain claims should be stricken from the suit before it proceeds. So the paper hasn’t admitted the falsity of the articles.

    • Nic919 says:

      That’s actually not bad for a decision to be provided. The judge needs to outline why they are deciding they way they are and point to the case law that supports their decision. I suspect the decision gets appealed regardless who wins. It’s clear the DM lawyers are just going to be combative because the facts aren’t on their side.

  16. Blue36 says:

    This is funny, the lawyers only need to direct the judge to the DM comments section, any positive comment about Meghan was deleted and said to be against their guidelines or whatever, but every malicious comment was allowed to remain. They moderated for the other royals but not Harry and Meghan, jeez I wonder why

    • Nic919 says:

      In other jurisdictions, namely the US and Canada, a site owner can be held liable for libellous comments made and kept on their site. I am not sure the state of the law in the UK on this, but with the crazy stuff the DM keeps, you would think they would have been dinged by now.

      • notasugarhere says:

        They wouldn’t allow any comments on articles about Andrew, which is telling. I hope Harry and Meghan’s lawyers bring that up.

      • PrincessK says:

        They don’t allow comments about rose bushes either.

    • Eyfalia says:

      The DM has a programm called ABYSS. I cannot put a link to this site since Celebitchy will not allow it. So I give you part of a sentence and you can search for it:

      “The Project – suitably named Abyss – was set up in 2015 and has run since. Estimated costs are £22,000 a year for 2017/18, which is lost in their ‘Media/Marketing’ Budget.”

  17. February Pisces says:

    We will be able to tell how much the Sussex’s are winning this case based on how many nasty articles there will be written today about them. If it’s alot then the Sussex’s are slaying this case.

  18. BAP says:

    The context to this preliminary motion is discovery.

    Relevant facts in issue can entitle a participant to discovery and the summons of witnesses to establish such facts.

    If Meghan’s statement of claim is valid with respect to malice and dishonesty, she can subpoena correspondence and compel mail reporters and editors to give evidence. This could expose a malicious and wilful conspiracy (a bit of a loaded term) to malign her.

    If the Mail succeeds in striking out this element of her case, then any malicious conspiracy would not be a fact in issue and Meghan would not be entitled to compel discovery in that regard.

    • Still_Sarah says:

      @ BAP : Great reply and explanation. Good work!

    • Lara says:

      I commented on this above, but I am sincerely confused. This entire time I had been working under the assumption that this was more along the lines of a summary judgment hearing, not a motion to strike, and so thought discovery was complete and this was very close to trial.

      Now that it’s clear that this WAS a motion to strike hearing, does this mean discovery hasn’t begun at all? I thought I had read somewhere that Meghan had already been deposed. The constant buzz in the media that the Defence would call Tom Markle as a witness also led me to the believe that they were close to trial.

      Any insight you can give regarding the procedure for British civil litigation would be greatly appreciated!

      Also, is this a jury trial or a bench trial? I (again) assumed it was a bench trial – now I see that I’ve been leaning far too much on US civil procedure.

      • BAP says:

        Its a bench trial; no jury. Discovery is really called disclosure and would more or less precede the pre-trial conference (hasn’t happened yet). Some facts-in-issue would be settled by the pleadings themselves. Basically, facts alleged and then admitted would not have to be proved. I would imagine in this case, certain elements of fact on the pleadings would meet the legal standard of proof but more would be required to establish malice or willful disregard–goes to certain defenses or damages. For example, the copyright issue. This is more or less self evident. They published portions of a personal letter without even seeking consent knowing very well it would not have been granted. Meghan would not have to do much to prove prima facie copyright and the burden would be on the Mail to show legitimate public interest, etc.

        This case has elements of copyright, privacy (new laws) and even defamation (though not expressly laid out). I can certainly see a situation where evidence might emerge in disclosure or trial which would allow an amendment of the pleadings to include defamation.

        Even before the pre-trial conference there would be certain formal processes for disclosure. From Meghan’s side side she lawyers might request emails, associated documents, payments to Thomas, witness depositions all aimed to show malice and a deliberate strategy to attack her character. As a fact in issue on the pleadings the Mail would be compelled to comply. This is probably why they commenced the strike-out action–to avoid having to make such disclosures with respect to dishonesty, malice and a coordinated campaign. If evidence of a tabloid media conspiracy is proven in court, not only would the damages be astronomical but the fallout in England and internationally would be huge–maybe even leading to formal and effective reforms of the British media. I personally think that there is tons of evidence waiting to be uncovered that Meghan was the subject of a malicious and coordinated campaign.

        If the Mail loses this motion they would have to comply with disclosure and witness requests. Based upon what is received the court could make certain determinations at the pre-trial conference as to what is effectively settled fact or not. Only facts in issue would need to be settled in court through the giving of evidence and the court making assessments of credibility and applying standards (more probable than not) and burdens of proof.

      • Lara says:

        @BAP
        Thanks so much for your response. Could you clarify this statement: “Even before the pre-trial conference there would be certain formal processes for disclosure.” Does this also mean that in the UK, disclosures can ALSO commence before the case scheduling order?

        My personal experience mostly deals with lawsuits brought by the government, which are usually preceded by a lengthy investigation and demand for documents from the governmental entity prior to the filing of the suit. Discovery demands from the government during the lawsuit are simply narrowed to focus on the allegations within their complaint. Most of the matters between private entities seem almost exclusively handled by the IP arm of the firm (which I stay away from as far as possible, since that’s its own terrifying beast).

        What experience I do have with civil litigation between private parties (basically all of which, now that I think about it, are class action lawsuits) is that discovery- issuing interrogatories and requests for document production- only begins after the case scheduling order, which is in turn usually preceded by the obligatory motion to dismiss filed by defendants. Then of course this is followed by depositions, expert discovery, expert deposition (by the way, are experts usually called to testify?).

        One more question – how high is the standard in the UK to prove malicious intent?

        Thanks so much for your insight! I really appreciate you taking time to reply to my questions.

  19. yinyang says:

    What kind of father testifies against his own daughter and sides with the press. Tom Markle should be ashamed of himself!! And where’s her step-sister in all this, where’s the accountability??

    • Still_Sarah says:

      @ Yinyang : I’m curious where Samantha Markle is too. It seems like this would be just the time where she would decide to pop up and give a malicious interview about Meghan Markle.

  20. Cg2495 says:

    To those wondering why would M keep a copy of a handwritten letter, when you have a toxic parent / family member who has a history of twisting your words, you learn to do this to keep your sanity and their lies straight. It seems to me that Meghan’s father has a history of twisting her words hence this action. She prob has not trust him in a long time. I have done this because some family ask for my help then go and spread lies about me, so yes I keep copies of checks I given them and any correspondence. It’s sad but some people are truly awful so many times you have to do this to keep your sanity and remember what you truly said.

  21. Salinettep says:

    Not sure if this has been answered, but. UK courts still going ahead with short hearings via virtual means (case management or applications such as this one which was a strike out application) but most final hearings (where evidence would be given) are being pushed back!

  22. June says:

    I was just reading Page Six and there was a headline that said Meghan had not seen her father in two years and blames a newspaper. What? I am sure if anyone wanted to see their father a newspaper would never stand in their way. From what I read in the Press, her father is not a nice guy and has been unkind to her. Certainly is none of my business and Meghan should do whatever she wants.

    • L4frimaire says:

      It doesn’t matter what her relationship is or was with her dad, especially if he stopped taking her calls. She’s not blaming the newspaper for not seeing her dad, but saying they manipulated him. This is also being filtered through the lawyers as well. The fact is it was not the public’s concern and the Fail didn’t have permission to publish her private letter.

    • Jaded says:

      Page Six is about as reliable as a rubber cane. Her father sold her out to the tabloids and gave them a VERY personal letter from his own daughter. He was caught in a huge lie about suffering a heart attack so he could get out of walking her down the aisle – he wanted money first and foremost and after that it’s no wonder Meghan washed her hands of him. That is the ultimate betrayal – money over love.

    • PrincessK says:

      The biggest clue about her father was that Meghan did not introduce Harry to her father before the engagement, which is something normal. Meghan must have explained to Harry that her father was a piece of work. I suspect that he has been trying to exhort money from Meghan before Harry came along. Meghan knew her father was capable of doing bad things because he is a very weak man and l think l know what his real problem is . One of her so called friends hinted at it but didn’t go all the way for fear of libel.

      • Shelley says:

        Yes. Go back and watch H and M engagement interview. M says H met her MOTHER’S side of the family!!! I’m surprised none of us caught that!!! Meghan had done already told us!!!

  23. Awkward symphony says:

    Thank you Kaiser for reporting this. The British press is in collaboration to try and taint this and thus instructed their members to focus in the line “why are they doing this NOW” knowing that we’ve been getting articles about them almost every day!! I’d urge everyone to follow+donate to byline who are live reporting this.
    https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/fund-our-investigation-into-the-daily-mail

  24. Marivic says:

    This is Diana’s fight against the British media. Meghan is continuing her fight. After more than two decades this time Diana in death, through Meghan, hopefully can claim justice and victory. RIP Princess Diana.

    • Scollins says:

      Marivic, I like your view and think you’re right.

    • betsyh says:

      This is a beautiful way to frame it. Diana was bullied and dehumanized by the tabloid press. Her daughter-in-law is also maliciously attacked. Why do Meghan’s critics say she married into this family and these attacks are just part of the deal? Why do they try to normalize and condone bullying?

    • Lahdidahbaby says:

      Great post, L4Frimaire!

    • PrincessK says:

      Yes, this court case is more than just about them, it is about protecting others. Win or lose, they are the moral victors.

  25. BYk says:

    why isn’t she suing the 5 close friends who talked to People “without her knowledge or approval”? they did exactly the same she’s accusing her trashy dad did.

    • betsyh says:

      She’s suing ANL, not her dad.

      • BYk says:

        where did I say she’s suing her dad? is tacit though she did not agree of find amusing her dad gave the letter, or parts of it, to be published by the media she’s suing. But IMO she knew very well the letter would end up in the tabloids

      • Ed says:

        I will say no

    • L4frimaire says:

      Early on after the lawsuit was first filed, after South Africa tour, her lawyers specifically stated that this lawsuit was not against Thomas Markle. You can see that in Byline a Investigates articles on this case. In fact it spelled out how she had regularly sent him money and helped care for her paternal grandmother. The case involves her father, but the tabloid is the one being sued. It seems you are determined to not see the tabloids actions for what it is.

    • Nic919 says:

      It’s amazing how the actual law doesn’t work the way the delusional megxit trolls want them too.

    • ennie says:

      She’s not badmouthing her dad at all (he rightly deserves it, tho). She is accusing the tabloids of manipulating him.

    • Olenna says:

      @BYk,
      LOL! No wonder you keep coming back with that mugxit sh*t. You get more attention with you inane comments than you really deserve.

    • Marni112 says:

      Don’t get logical.I personally will be fascinated to see 5 people get on the stand and say they gave an interview about a letter and didnt let MM know.

      • Olenna says:

        @Marni112,
        You’re, right; BYk didn’t “get logical”. The Duchess of Sussex’s is not suing her pathetic father. Further, her friends have nothing to do with the Fail publishing a letter that they didn’t own the copyright to or get permission from the copyright owner to publish. But, don’t let mugxit logic stand in the way of a co-sign for the team.

      • BYk says:

        yeap! and to non other than People Magazine, a “friendly” media and a well known celebrity mouth piece! That’s what I’m saying: is gonna be great drama to see these 5 women telling under oath that her friend had no idea they were going to talk about this letter! Fascinating!

      • Eyfalia says:

        You will not see them in court. The 5 friends are not part of this lawsuit. This is just the DM trying to exploit Meghan further, trying to gather more information. They have nothing to do with the DM publishing this letter without getting consent beforehand.

  26. Melissa says:

    I am equal parts sad for the five friends that are going to be named and have to testify and wildly curious to see who they are.

    • ABritGuest says:

      Not sure the friends will be testifying because as much as the press is trying to make this a focus, their reference to a letter in People Mag isn’t a defence to the Mail publishing Meghan’s letter without her consent& her lawyers will stick to the facts of that.

      There are specific defences to copyright infringement such as public interest which a lot of legal commentators think the Mail will struggle to apply especially if their article manipulated the contents of Meghan’s letter.

      Secondly protection of anonymous sources for journalists’ freedom of expression is pretty paramount under U.K. law& courts will only overturn that in interest of justice, national security, prevention of a crime which is highly unlikely to apply to a fluff piece in an American celebrity/entertainment mag.

    • Nic919 says:

      This is a megxit troll talking point. Please stop being stupid. The friends spoke to People magazine which is not the same as the Daily Mail. And People is not being sued. Only the papers that published the copyrighted letter are being sued.

      • ennie says:

        the trolls or haters are attacking her friends, trying to deflect the attack vs tabloids.
        they are salivating over the possibility. Personally, I don’t care at all who those friends are. I want the tabloids punished, they really destroy lives, including the Sussexes.

      • Melissa says:

        Oh for goodness sake! This isn’t a troll talking point. I’m sure many of us are curious who the friends are, it’s GOSSIP!

        I have no idea if they will be called or not, but in every article where we discuss this we speculate endlessly on whether or not the leakers at various palaces will be exposed. Speculating on who will be named or called to testify is not some taboo topic . And can we please stop acting like 5 year olds when someone expresses a thought outside of lockstep.

        @ABrit Yes, it does seem very much like a muddy the waters campaign in the press.

  27. L4frimaire says:

    Despite the fact that the Duchess of Sussex is involved, is this a pretty basic case at a basic level? They published a private letter she didn’t give permission to be published. They never asked her, never told her about it. If this was anyone else, whether a royal or celebrity, how would that be ok? This whole tabloid nastiness of “ how dare she” is such BS from the very beginning. How dare she date Harry, how dare she have a life before him, how dare she marry him and get pregnant, how dare she take a private jet and know celebrities, how dare she work hard and be so engaging with the public, how dare she not put up with our vicious lies and slander. How dare she go back LA and be photographed with her husband. How dare she sit in Harry’ s face. Yes, she dares.

    • Melissa says:

      You’re not wrong, the coverage is beyond the realm of normal gossipand to anyone with eyes has a racial bias.

      I guess I just don’t see the point in calling everyone stupid for speculating.

    • Still_Sarah says:

      I’m just curious about the law about copyright. If MM sent the letter to her father, doesn’t the letter then belong to him and then doesn’t she lose control of what happens to it? I think what Thomas Markle did was sleazy (giving or selling a private letter from his daughter to the press). But wasn’t his HIS letter to use or misuse as he choose?

      • ABritGuest says:

        The letter belongs to him so he could have freely discussed its contents in the Fail. But the words are her intellectual property (copyright) so the Fail needed her consent to publish it.

      • panda says:

        There are exceptions to the rule that Meghan’s consent was necessary in order for the MoS to publish excerpts of the letter. MoS will raise the People article as a defense, saying it painted Thomas unfairly and he had a right to get his side of the story out. Omid Scobie is on record saying Meghan likely gave her friends a subtle blessing to discuss the letter, so he could end up testifying as well. I’m not saying the paper’s defense will be successful, only that is will be raised.

      • Babsorig says:

        @Panda, is this wishful thinking on your part or what? “Omid Scobie is on record saying Meghan LIKELY gave her friends a SUBTLE BLESSING to discuss the letter, so he could end up testifying as well”. Just g ahead and re-read your own post and understand how ridiculously foolish it is to believe that someone’s opinion (that Meghan “likely” gave a “subtle blessing”) would somehow persuade the defense to call them to testify……go on…..yeah I figured.

  28. Guest says:

    To all the other Brits reading on here – this site is full of Americans obsessing over our Royal Family and I’ve always found that interesting and creepy. Most of us don’t give af about them in the UK so to see Americans fawning over this lot is highly amusing. It’s high time for the US rf supporters to start paying for the duke and Duchess of Sussex security. If you want royals you should pay for them. It’s quite simple really.

    • ennie says:

      And it’s very funny to see them on Twitter, many of the most hateful ones are Americans, one peeks at their profile and can see what they are all about, most of them share political views and Royal obsession. I am not American, but I hate unfairness, so here I am fairly often lurking mostly.

      I suggest, as you don’t care for yours, that you can start the steps to remove them.

    • BabsORIG says:

      LOL, @Guest, and yet, here you are clicking and commenting on RF related thread and in particular, a Sussex related thread, LOL at the hypocrisy. And I think thou protest way too much, if you don’t give AF about the BRF why even click on and comment? And for the 1000th time, the Sussexes’ security is not valid by the British either so……what again is ur point exactly?

    • L4frimaire says:

      Frankly some of us are only interested because of Meghan, and Meghan only. Lot of it is defending her against the absolutely disgusting behavior towards her since the marriage into that family, but she’s an interesting, charismatic person and they’re a dynamic couple. Lots of stuff to unpack there. We saw some of this with Michelle Obama, even Hilary Clinton back when she was First Lady ( yes I remember the stay home and make cookies brouhaha) ,but this stuff is just next level insane. Didn’t pay attention to Royals before her and kind of tired of hearing about the others now because they are strictly for the U.K., and I’m fine with that. The Sussexes story is still unfolding and it’s interesting. Lots of contexts.

  29. February Pisces says:

    It seems that the trash tabloids turning on omid scobie, something to do with him writing a book. Dan wootton was trash tweeting about him. Gawd these people are awful. Omid has never once trashed any royals, he reports on the Cambridge’s just as much, he’s just one of the few who have been fair. Sussex squad on twitter never expect him to be nasty to the Cambridge’s, as we respect his integrity. I’m sure he has connections to the Sussex’s, just like every other royal reporter has to the Cambridge’s, the only difference is harry and Meghan have never asked him to go slandering other royals, nor does he report on trashy tabloid gossip. Gawd it makes me so mad as omid is one of the good guys.

    • panda says:

      Dan Wootton is saying a lot of things about the Harry and Meghan and Omid lately.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      yep, looks like they have trained their guns on Omid now. expect his social media to be flooded with hate from now on. the fail is ruthless and seem to relish playing the role of bad guy.

    • February Pisces says:

      Gawd I feel so bad for him. I think KP will get their Troll bots to omid’s twitter now the Sussex’s no longer use their Instagram. It’s like they are determined to turn off all their channels of communication until there’s nothing left. Dan wootton is truly an awful human being, he slandered Caroline flack, then when she commits suicide tries to pretend he was her friend. He also blackmailed Philip schofield into coming out. I seriously hope he gets his karma.

      • L4frimaire says:

        Those trolls will just be good context fodder for a book. If the Sussexes compiled all their Instagram comments into a book, I’d buy it, and if it was the subject of a podcast or speaking tour, I’d listen to it. Hope they saved every last emoji from every comment before they turned it off. The tabloids who hate them are still talking about them.

  30. RoyalBlue says:

    Thomas Markle, I hope this was worth it for your ten pieces of silver.