Harry waits for ruling on preliminary issues after suing newspaper publisher

Mr Justice Nicklin oversaw a preliminary hearing of the case at the High Court in London on Thursday.

09 June 2022

The Duke of Sussex is waiting for a High Court judge to rule on a number of preliminary issues after making a libel claim against a newspaper publisher over articles about his legal battle against the Home Office.

Harry is suing Associated Newspapers Limited, publisher of the Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, over stories written after a hearing in a separate High Court case over his security arrangements when he is in the UK.

Associated Newspapers is disputing the claim.

Mr Justice Nicklin oversaw a hearing at the High Court in London on Thursday and considered a number of preliminary issues.

The Duke of Sussex
The Duke of Sussex in London earlier in June, during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations (PA)

He said he will deliver a ruling on those preliminary issues at a later date.

The judge was asked to consider the “natural and ordinary” meaning of the parts of the articles in the claim, whether they are a statement of “fact or opinion” and whether they are defamatory.

Barrister Justin Rushbrooke QC, who is leading Harry’s legal team, told the judge in a written case outline that Harry brought the claim following a website article and an article in the Mail on Sunday in February.

He argued both articles were “defamatory” and meant that Harry had “lied”, had “improperly and cynically” tried to manipulate public opinion, and had “tried to keep his legal fight with the Government secret from the public”.

Mr Rushbrooke said Associated Newspapers disputed that the words complained of bore “any meaning defamatory” of Harry.

In his written claim filed with the court, Harry said the reporting allegedly caused him “substantial hurt, embarrassment and distress which is continuing”.

Harry is bringing his separate claim against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.

He is arguing that his private protection team in the US does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to the UK intelligence information needed to keep his family safe.

However, Robert Palmer QC, for the Home Office, previously told the court the duke’s offer of private funding was “irrelevant” and that “personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately-financed basis”.

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