Head of Media Disputes Emily Cox has been quoted extensively in an article in a Daily Express about the ongoing lawsuit between Meghan Markle and Associated Newspapers.
Meghan Markle’s case against Associated Newspapers (ANL) follows the publication of extracts of a letter the Duchess wrote to her father after her 2018 wedding. Meghan claims that the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline breached her privacy and copyright when they published the letter.
ANL defended itself and said Meghan had already violated her own privacy when she allowed five of her friends to speak to People Magazine. One of her friends mentioned the letter in the interview, which reportedly prompted Mr Markle to show it to the press in February 2019.
ANL has amended its defence claim to include a reference the new pro-Sussex biography ‘Finding Freedom’ in its case – with the High Court judge’s approval. Antony White QC for ANL said in written submissions that ‘Finding Freedom’ gave “every appearance of having been written with their [the Sussexes] extensive cooperation”.
‘Finding Freedom’ includes extracts of the letter, just like the contested articles from the MailOnline and the Mail on Sunday. However, both Meghan’s representatives and the authors of ‘Finding Freedom’ have denied the Sussexes collaborated for the text.
Meghan’s attorney, Justin Rushbrooke QC, claimed the authors “were not given the impression that the claimant wanted the contents of the letter to be reproduced in the book”, and said the extracts were taken from the Mail’s original articles instead.
The Duchess of Sussex is set to appear in court in January, and sources recently told Vanity Fair that there will be “no wavering” in the run-up to the 10-day trial.
On the topic of whether Meghan should continue with the case, Emily Cox is quoted as saying:
“Associated Newspapers’ successful bid to include the ‘Finding Freedom’ biography in its defence could prove to be the fatal blow to the Duchess’ claim that she had an expectation of privacy in the letter to her father.
“And it will certainly mean yet more dissection of her personal life when this case goes to trial in January of next year.”
“It is therefore difficult to see how she can emerge a winner from this case even if she succeeds on the pure legal points at trial.”
She added: “If her privacy is paramount, the Duchess should be thinking about ways to exit this litigation gracefully.
“For example, she might take the position that she is not prepared to throw to the wolves her five friends who collaborated with People, and who could well lose their anonymity at trial.
“An expensive option, given she will have to pick up the tab for Associated Newspapers’ costs, but one which may be worth its weight in gold.”
The full article can be read here.
Emily has also discussed the dilemma the Duchess may face between her campaigning on anti-bullying, vs her desire for privacy.
Both Harry and Meghan have been vocal against online bullying and harassment. Emily comments:
“It’s possible her brand could be enhanced in that way — but, I think ultimately, the dissection of private life [during the lawsuit] is going to be more of a negative than she would have realised at the outset.”
That article can be read here.
This article was co-written by Paralegal Palomi Kotecha
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