Meghan Markle Is Awaiting a Crucial Decision in her Court Case

Meghan Markle's court case could take a dramatic turn today, as the judge decides whether aspects of her privacy lawsuit could be resolved without a trial.

london, england november 07 meghan, duchess of sussex attends the 91st field of remembrance at westminster abbey on november 07, 2019 in london, england photo by chris jacksongetty images
(Image credit: Chris Jackson)

Meghan Markle's court case against the publishers of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline could take a dramatic turn today, as the judge decides whether aspects of her privacy lawsuit could be resolved without going to trial. The Duchess of Sussex is suing Associated Newspapers for misuse of private information, copyright infringement, and breach of the Data Protection Act over their 2019 publication of parts of a letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, the previous year.

In a remote high court hearing last month, Meghan's lawyers asked judge Mr Justice Warby to dismiss Associated Newspapers' defense and prevent the case from going to trial in a decision known as "summary judgement." The Duchess of Sussex's legal team said Associated Newspapers had "no prospect" of defending themselves at trial, while the publisher's lawyers claimed the case was "wholly unsuitable for summary judgement."

Representing the Duchess, lawyer Justin Rushbrooke said her August 2018 letter to Thomas Markle was a "heartfelt plea from an anguished daughter to her father," arguing that the "contents and character of the letter were intrinsically private, personal, and sensitive in nature."

Rushbrooke further stated that Meghan "had a reasonable expectation of privacy in respect of the contents of the letter," adding that the letter's publication was "self-evidently likely to be devastating for the claimant."

Defending Associated Newspapers, lawyer Antony White claimed that the Duchess wrote the letter to her father "with a view to it being disclosed publicly at some future point," intending to refute "charges of being an uncaring or unloving daughter." White, noting that Meghan consulted with palace staff, continued, "No truly private letter from daughter to father would require any input from the Kensington Palace communications team."

Rushbrooke, however, said the Mail on Sunday articles about Meghan's letter noted its private status, adding that public interest in the correspondence was at the "very end of the bottom end of the scale." Rushbrooke stated, "On any view the defendant published far more by way of extracts from the letter than could have been justified in the public interest."

As Hello! reports, Mr Justice Warby is expected to deliver his ruling on Meghan's request for summary judgement at 4 p.m. U.K. time today, determining whether or not the case will go to trial. While the full trial was originally expected to take place in January, Meghan was granted an adjournment until fall 2021 on "confidential" grounds.

Emily Dixon
Morning Editor

Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.