Mail on Sunday agrees to pay “financial remedies” to Duchess of Sussex

The Mail on Sunday has opted against taking its privacy battle with the Duchess of Sussex to the Supreme Court, saying in a brief story last week it has agreed to pay undisclosed "financial remedies" to settle the case.

Mail on Sunday agrees to pay “financial remedies” to Duchess of Sussex
Harry and Meghan on Christmas Day, 2017. Photograph: Mark Jones, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Mail on Sunday issued a statement published both online and at the bottom of the front page of its 26 December edition saying: “The Duchess of Sussex wins her legal case for copyright infringement against Associated Newspapers for articles published in The Mail on Sunday and posted on Mail Online - SEE PAGE 3”.

On page three, under the headline “The Duchess of Sussex”, it says: “Following a hearing on 19-20 January, 2021, and a further hearing on 5 May, 2021, the Court has given judgement for the Duchess of Sussex on her claim for copyright infringement.

“The Court found that Associated Newspapers infringed her copyright by publishing extracts of her handwritten letter to her father in The Mail on Sunday and on Mail Online.

“Financial remedies have been agreed.”

The Duchess sued the Mail on Sunday’s owner, Associated Newspapers, over five articles it had published reproducing extracts from a “personal and private” letter she had written to her father Thomas Markle in August 2018. She won her case earlier this year when high court judge Lord Justice Warby ruled in her favour without the need for a trial.

Associated Newspapers appealed on the grounds that the case should have gone to trial, but that appeal was dismissed earlier this month by court of appeal judges Lord Justice Bean, Sir Geoffrey Vos and Dame Victoria Sharpe.

They ruled that the Duchess had a “reasonable expectation” of privacy regarding the contents of the letter. “Those contents were personal, private and not matters of legitimate public interest,” Vos said.

After the ruling, the Duchess said: “This is a victory not just for me, but for anyone who has ever felt scared to stand up for what’s right. While this win is precedent-setting, what matters most is that we are now collectively brave enough to reshape a tabloid industry that conditions people to be cruel, and profits from the lies and pain that they create.

“From day one, I have treated this lawsuit as an important measure of right versus wrong. The defendant has treated it as a game with no rules. The longer they dragged it out, the more they could twist facts and manipulate the public (even during the appeal itself), making a straightforward case extraordinarily convoluted in order to generate more headlines and sell more newspapers - a model that rewards chaos above truth.

“In the nearly three years since this began, I have been patient in the face of deception, intimidation, and calculated attacks. Today, the courts ruled in my favour - again - cementing that the Mail on Sunday, owned by Lord Jonathan Rothermere, has broken the law. The courts have held the defendant to account, and my hope is that we all begin to do the same. Because as far removed as it may seem from your personal life, it’s not.

“Tomorrow it could be you. These harmful practices don’t happen once in a blue moon - they are a daily fail that divide us, and we all deserve better.”

Associated Newspapers said at the time that it was “very disappointed” by the ruling and would consider appealing to the Supreme Court, but has decided to pay the financial remedies instead.

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