Duchess Meghan’s trial against the Mail has been delayed until autumn 2021

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Yesterday, we learned that the Duchess of Sussex’s London-based attorneys were requesting a delay in the trial against the Mail. The trial has been set for January, and there were big expectations that Meghan and Harry would travel to England just after Christmas just for the trial. But we’re still in a pandemic, and the court case has gotten absolutely bonkers, so Meghan was apparently asking for more time. It was given to her. But it’s surprisingly complicated, because Meghan is also asking for a summary judgment, which could halt proceedings without a trial (there has been no ruling on the summary judgment as of yet).

The Duchess of Sussex is in the midst of a legal battle with the Mail on Sunday’s parent company, Associated Newspapers, whom she is suing for breach of privacy over the publication of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, 75. Now, after Meghan submitted an application asking for the case to be adjourned, she has won her bid for the trial to be delayed for almost a year.

The Sun reports that the bid proved successful today after the Duchess cited a ‘confidential matter’. The 10-day trial was set to take place in London on 11 January with the Duchess due to give evidence against her father. A case management hearing was set to take place today, Thursday 29 October, but the trial judge, Mr Justice Warby, will instead now hear the application for adjournment (in a remote hearing) that is expected to last half a day. Another aspect of Meghan’s legal case, the costs and case management, was due to be discussed today by Judge Francesca Kaye, in what would have been one in the series of preliminary hearings.

The request comes after Associated Newspapers’ lawyers asked and won the right to include the Finding Freedom biography in their client’s defence. The Duchess of Sussex is accused of feeding personal information to the writers of the biography to ‘set out her own version of events in a way that is favourable to her’. Associated Newspapers claimed Prince Harry’s wife had leaked details of the letter to the media through friends and last month sought permission to amend its defence to argue Meghan’s cooperation.

As reported in the Express, the Duchess’ legal team have now applied for a ‘summary judgement’. Such a move would make the whole trial in January unnecessary and the Duchess would no longer be required to give evidence at a trial in person. Chris Ship, ITV News’s royal editor explained the case for a ‘summary judgement’ on Twitter: ‘They say it’s because they are so confident of their case in law and will argue tomorrow that the case should be determined on a “summary basis”’. A summary basis would involve the judge making a ruling based on the cases submitted on paper by the two sides, without the need for witnesses or further evidence. The Times reported that legal experts had speculated that the duchess might be seeking to avoid getting into the witness box, where she would be subjected to cross-examination; there’s also a possibility that her father could be called as a witness if there is a full trial.

[From Tatler]

Judge Mark Warby has tentatively set the new trial date for some time in the “autumn” of 2021. Which, from what I gather, will probably be moot because Meghan is looking to get this sh-t shut down very soon with the summary judgment. As for the Finding Freedom aspect… again, the Mail is just trying to make the situation incredibly complicated when it was always very simple: the Mail had no right to publish any part of Meghan’s letter to her father, and they certainly didn’t have the right to grossly misrepresent the letter the way they did. The Mail arguing that Meghan and her friends might have said this or that to People Magazine or Omid Scobie is neither here nor there.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex at the US Open Tennis

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64 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s trial against the Mail has been delayed until autumn 2021”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    What I don’t get about the FF defense is that FF came out 18 months AFTER the MoS published the letter (well, more or less, my timeline might be off by a month or so.) So even IF H&M did cooperate with Scobie and Durand and fed them “favorable” information for the book, if they did that AFTER the letter was published, what bearing does that have? Couldn’t H&M then just say “after being attacked in the press, including having personal correspondence published, we thought it was important to get our story out?”

    • Nancy says:

      Yeah, agree. So what if they even cooperated with the book? It was THEIR choice. Having the PRIVATE letter leaked obviously was NOT.

    • Myra says:

      Definitely. Meghan herself could choose to publicly discuss aspects of her own private life in any capacity, whether in a memoir or an interview. This still would not give the MoS, or any other publications, the right to publish her personal correspondence without her permission. To highlight that her correspondence related to a private matter between herself and her father so there is no case for public interest here. She also has a right to privacy, on top of owning the rights to the letter.

    • Nic919 says:

      It’s a very loose test to amend a pleading but I agree that something after the fact is not evidence of consent for the letter she wrote to her father.

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      They’ve already said they had no part in the writing of this book and that there are many false information in it, which means it couldn’t have come from them. They would then need to prove all that is false, which requires evidence and takes time, which is where the request for a delay comes in. But at the end of the day it’s not about FF, though the tabloids is trying to make it about that. The point is clear, her letter was published without her consent and in the UK that is illegal no matter how it was obtained. The judge if he is unbiased should have no trouble ruling in her favor because the evidence that the tabloid broke the law is not up for debate. This should be open and shut, which is why Meghan is requesting summary judgement and she should get it and win this trial if fairness is possible here.

  2. MerryGirl says:

    Finding Freedom has absolutely no bearing on this copyright case whatsoever. I hope and pray that good sense will prevail and Meghan will get a summary judgement.

  3. Andrew’s Nemesis says:

    I wonder if she’s pregnant, and doesn’t want to open herself to the feeding frenzy shark tabloids in the coming months.
    If a conclusion can be reached via summary judgment, and save her from the unnecessary grief that witnessing her father be himself in court and break her heart all over again will impose, then so much the better. Deny the tabs any more opportunities to make money from her, and her pain.

    • TQ says:

      I also wonder if she’s pregnant hence the delay request based on a ‘confidential matter’. Certainly can’t blame her for not wanting to travel to the UK during the pandemic for a January 2021 trial. The UK is full on in a second covid wave and it’s getting grim.

      • Oh says:

        I don’t think she is pregnant but I hope she is

      • Andrew’s Nemesis says:

        @TQ I know it’s grim, I’m in my study in the East of England and am trying hard not to look at Covid news because it makes me panic! If only we had some semblance of useful government! (I know I’m preaching to the choir here…) I would be worried for Meghan if she were to have travelled here in January. We’re facing upwards of 500 dead a day if the government keeps on as it has been for months; dark and frightening times.
        Best of health wishes to you and yours.

    • anotherlily says:

      Pregnancy was my first thought too. It’s a lengthy delay – a full year away. If she’s at the 3 month stage now it gives her time for a peaceful pregnancy and full recovery. Part of her complaint against the DM involves the distress they caused her during her pregnancy which jeopardised her health and the safety of her child.

      • Harper says:

        Private court hearing and the case pushed back to Autumn. Not spring, not summer, but the fall. I think she’s pregnant, hence the court granting the privacy request in the first place and then the lengthy extension.

      • equality says:

        Being pushed back that far could just mean that the courts are far behind in a lot of cases, and may even get further behind with covid restrictions being re-implemented.

    • Yvette says:

      @Andrew’s Nemesis … And the same best wishes to you! 🙂

      I also think Meghan is in the early stages of another pregnancy.

  4. Sofia says:

    I hope she gets a summary judgement. Charles got one IIRC back in 2006 when newspapers published his letters

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Gotta hope that the lawyers bring this up in the summary! Perhaps even confer with Charles’ lawyers on it.

    • Jegede says:

      She’s not going it get a summary judgement.☹☹
      That Justice Warby also struck down her lawyers’ appeal to have the FF defence excised, indicates the wind is blowing the MOS way.

  5. Snuffles says:

    I certainly hope the reason for the delay is because she’s pregnant. I will also accept

    1) Are you nuts!? There is COVID surge happening! No way am I traveling during this mess.

    2) This is an open and shut case. I refuse to waste my time on this BS circus the tabloids are trying to create.

    • Ginger says:

      It could very well be. Someone on twitter said the reason for the delay was due to personal reasons.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Thing is, someone brought up the other day here… The BRF NEED the press, tabloid and otherwise. THEY COULD BE THE ONES WHO ARE STRETCHING THIS OUT, FEEDING THE TABS *AND* THEIR LAWYERS. At this point, it sure as hell wouldn’t surprise me to find their claws behind the tabs.

      (And I hope Meg is expecting, too! 😊)

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      All of this is possible reasons she is going in this direction. Also, she has seen the way the tabloids have been using this lawsuit to write further stories about her, which is something she and Harry have been trying to curtail and plug up. Summary judgement would end any scheme to continue using the lawsuit to get new material to degrade her with.

  6. ABritGuest says:

    I think the Fail is using FF as like a pattern of behaviour of invading her own privacy& suggesting the same happened with the People article- she told the friends to mention the letter etc.

    I’m interested in the Fail’s justification as not sure how reference to it’s content (which apparently was wrong) in People means they could publish some of the letter. They could have just had Thomas give interview with his response. I think she’s requesting they not be allowed to use FF as part of their defence.

    Charles applied for summary judgment against similar case with the Fail & won. Many legal experts didn’t rate the Fail’s defence so applying for summary judgment at this stage isn’t that unusual apparently. The Fail will need to justify why there should be a trial which means ponying up some evidence to prove they do have a good defence.

    It’s interesting press claim she will testify against her father like she’s a turncoat when actually he could be the Fail’s witness against her. So insidious & people will believe it.

    Lots of speculation as to the confidential ground to agree trial delay lol

    • Sid says:

      “I’m interested in the Fail’s justification as not sure how reference to it’s content (which apparently was wrong) in People means they could publish some of the letter.”

      And that is what I don’t get. I see it like a famous author writing a book but choosing not to publish it or release it publicly in any manner. If the author tells a friend about the unpublished book’s existence, and somehow a tabloid gets a copy of the book, I do not see how the tabloid would have the right to print excerpts of this unpublished book, even if you try to argue about “fair use.”

    • BayTampaBay says:

      The Daily Fail is claiming she will testify against her father and playing it up for all it is worth as “red meat” for their commentariat.

  7. truthSF says:

    Smart! Since apparently, this is not the 1st judge on the case, those extra 9 months will be able to give this judge more time to assess all the information in the hopes that she can rule on whether to allow a summary judgment or proceed to trial. (I’m really hoping for the former and NOT the latter.) And in that time, Meghan (& Harry) won’t have to worry about going to UK for the trial! Those poor royal rota and Scambridges. No money shots/harassment/leaked info to make money from and/or distract from your naughty secrets!😔😈😂😂😂😂🤣

    • Mignionette says:

      I think this is part of the strategy.

      I also think the timing of the delay is pretty savvy, the US elections and Brexit are minutes away and the UK is about to be roasted on the world stage for the hubris that allowed the far right to dominate UK politics.

      Added to that the ramping up of Andrews inevitable Waterloo moment and final retirement from public life.

      If the trial had stuck to it’s original timelines, Meg and Harry would have dominated the front pages every day for the wrong reasons as a distraction to the real shit show.

    • Nyro says:

      I love that the rota rats are gonna starve because of this.LOK. they’d already started writing articles about the Sussexes having to come back for quarantine and delved into fantasies about the queen telling them off or and whatnot. Haha!! They thought the Sussexes being back for the holidays was gonna be the payday of all paydays, making up for the financial struggle since the Sussex content dried up in March. They get nothing, no content!😂😂 And HM will be able to enjoy Christmas in California.

      • BnLurkN4eva says:

        I bet they’ve already written articles accusing H/M of not quarantining because they would be accused of everything whether true or not. Articles about H/M endangering fill in the blank family member are probably written and ready to go. They were going to have a field day if H/M showed up and now I’m hoping they avoid returning at all until IG if it’s held in 21

  8. Julia K. says:

    I wonder if Thomas Markle health status is the basis for this delay. She wants this over and done, but it all changes if her father passes away or is too incapacitated to testify.

    • Sofia says:

      I doubt it. I think she just wants a summary judgement (ie decide whether or not the Mail is guilty or not without a trial) and a trial extension is sort of a “back up” if it’s not granted but I do think she’s got a compelling reason as well otherwise the judge wouldn’t have granted it

      • ABritGuest says:

        Apparently the Fail asked court to consider her father’s health with Meghan’s delay request actually because he really wants to be a witness for them but is elderly and sick so they don’t want the trial to be delayed too long. Awful man

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @ABritGuest – The Daily Fail had a whole article complete with 3.4K comments regarding Thomas Markle Sr. The comments are disgusting.

    • RedRoyal says:

      The Judge decided that Meghan’s own convenience is more important than Thomas’ health.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Hmm, but he’s healthy enough to make an appearance for the court even though he could die any second and has problems breathing.

      This is just an excuse to get attention for him and to paint Meghan in a negative way. The fact that the judge granted her request means that the Fail and Daddy Dearest didn’t present compelling enough testimony to convince the judge otherwise.

      • equality says:

        If he shows up to testify against her while pleading health issues when he didn’t show up for her wedding because of alleged health issues, that says it all about him.

  9. BnLurkN4eva says:

    Yeah, I am glad they get to decide when to return to England rather than being obliged to do so because of the court case. I wouldn’t wish them in the UK at this time because no matter how they plan it, it will be stressful in the immediate future. Take Archie, leave Archie, does Harry go too? Quarantine going and coming, then there’s the problem of what to do about his family. Should they visit them, who should they visit? God help them if after a visit any of them come down with COVID. I wouldn’t even trust these people not to lie and say they caught COVID from H and/or M since asymptomatic people can spread the virus and you can’t prove they didn’t have it if they say they caught it. This is the best route to take on all this and gives them a break from this ongoing drama for a bit.

  10. Bluj1515 says:

    Legal experts claiming she doesn’t want to be in the witness box and that’s the reason for the SJ are biased idiots. First of all, no one ever wants to be in the witness box. Second of all, you file SJ In ever case you think you have a shot at it and often times also in ones you think you don’t at that stage, to be your arguments out there and work the judge etc. The face of the matter is the the Mail has absolutely no defense on the copyright claim. None.

    • Beth says:

      Agreed. Filing for summary judgment in this sense (a defence has been filed) is either because your case is a slam dunk or for tactical reasons in seeking a settlement behind the scenes. But calling bluff on that is dangerous if SJ is rejected because the bar for that is high. If this is to be decided on the papers (everything put before the Court so far) instead of a remote hearing also that doesn’t leave a huge amount of time to negotiate even with Covid backlog.

      So either Meghans case is without question- legally not morally might I add – or they are close to settling.

      Also Francesca Kaye is head of QB but she’s a Master not a Judge.

    • Nic919 says:

      No actual legal expert would say that’s the basis for the application for summary judgment. There is a QC who in fact posted that the article by Low in the Times was incorrect and more whining than legal principles.
      They all seem to conveniently ignore that Charles won on summary judgment on this exact same issue. Which would be a precedent the court must consider.

      • Rebecca says:

        The MoS also used a biography written about Charles to justify publishing his Hong Kong diaries.

        The MoS lost that case.

  11. Oh says:

    Maybe off topic, but do y’all think if Meghan is pregnant with a girl, would Harry name her after his mother’s name? Like Diana or Frances?

    • CuriousCole says:

      I doubt Harry would want to force the lifelong comparisons on his baby girl. She’ll already be a point of interest her entire life as is, even if she’s named Mary or Nicole, no need to invite additional scrutiny by going with Diana. Also, given that they named their first Archie, it’s safe to say we won’t see the second’s name coming either 😉

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      I hope if they have a daughter they choose a name they like and is meaningful to them, but not Diana. Naming their child after Diana will just open up too much criticism and give the BM too much to dine on, which is something they hope to avoid in the starving the BM strategy.

  12. Golly Gee says:

    “The request comes after Associated Newspapers’ lawyers asked and won the right to include the Finding Freedom biography in their client’s defence. ”
    Can someone explain why they won the right to use this book? If there is nothing to it, wouldn’t their right to use it have been rejected? This is the aspect that worries me.
    I hope those cockroaches don’t end up winning after all the crap that they’ve put Meghan through.

    • Jegede says:

      I said it that Warby allowing the FF defence to remain ,- *** knows why – strongly suggests he won’t allow a summary trial.

      I’m more than happy to be wrong, but won’t count on it.😶

      • Chickita says:

        Warby Wasn’t the judges that rules they’d be allowed to use FF. It was a woman. You can google and find the details of search the archive here.

    • BnLurkN4eva says:

      No it doesn’t mean that. It just means that they (tabloids) are allowed to try and make the connection. I don’t like it either but these suits are crazy like that and with the media trying to mine the proceedings for clicks, they are throwing whatever they can to force Meghan to engage with them. I hope this thing is decided by summary judgement, that would be the best outcome for Meghan.

  13. NotSoSimpleTaylor says:

    The people in my world have a universal hate and resentment for one thing: having to do go to court in the UK. It’s awful and a pain that’s akin to the sound of a dentist drill. This is a nightmare of a case and I don’t have Meghan and Harry’s patience to stand on principle so good for them.

  14. Vanessa says:

    This case is simple and clear cut in the U.K. you can’t publish a letter without the author permission. What the daily mail did was illegal If this happen to any of the white royal royals everyone in the U.K. would be on their side and the case would have been settled already but because this is Meghan people are hellbent on twisting the law to further abuse her . The daily mail using finding freedom as proof as a conspiracy that Meghan and Harry talked to the authors of the book is just ridiculously when for months the daily mail and the royals reporters swore up and down that everything in finding freedom was false and that the palace and the Cambridge’s didn’t do anything to Meghan and Harry .

  15. helonearth says:

    This will, unfortunately, bring her family out of the woodwork again to go on about how her father is at death’s door (he seems to have been there for quite some time) and that idiot Samantha giving more over-the-top insane interviews.

    Hope she gets the summary judgement.

  16. aquarius64 says:

    If the Fail wants Bad Dad healthy because they are afraid he will die before trial. Goodbye star witness and headline and click source. A trial delay may means Meghan’s lawyers got something on Daddy – like proof the Fail is bribing Toxic Tom to testify against Meghan. Suborning perjury is not a good thing under U.S. law. What about the UK?

  17. marni112 says:

    I would assume she is pregnant and so wants to have it over asap hence the Summary Judgment motion or if that doesn’t succeed , have it deferred till after the baby is born .I wonder if this was Ms.Average , would an adjournment been granted ? On the other hand, it may be the Court was of the view that MM could not simply put the case into limbo for a year and so the trade off was the Summary Judgment motion -which would serve 2 purposes , either move the case forward and end it or if the Motion doesn’t end it ,both sides will be totally aware of the case they need to meet at trial .Such a Motion is a bit tricky because if MM’s lawyers are not successful , then they have likely played their entire hand. .

    • Becks1 says:

      Summary judgment is a pretty standard procedural step. It’s not really “tricky.” (at least not in the US, maybe in the UK its a bit different.) IT can be hard to win on SJ, but the motion itself isn’t a huge risk for Meghan and her team. I’m sure her lawyers were planning on making a motion for it anyway, the timing is just working out to make it seem like the two things are directly connected (the SJ motion and the adjournment motion.)

    • Nic919 says:

      Adjournments can be granted for average women if they have a due date that is around the scheduled trial date. No court would force a pregnant woman ready to give birth to have to attend court, not for a civil matter anyway. Also covid has changed things and international travel is definitely a factor in granting the adjournment. Also, allowing FF to be added as a defence would be significant enough to permit additional time to respond to those new allegations.

  18. Awkward symphony says:

    I also think shes pregnant. I’m glad they got the delay request but hopefully this will end sooner via the summary motion

  19. PrincessK says:

    The indications come from the name they gave their first son, I don’t think they will give any of their children traditional names.