LONDON (Reuters) – British newspaper the Mail on Sunday must publish a front-page statement to say Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, had won a privacy case against it, according to a ruling handed down by a London High Court judge on Friday.
Last month, judge Mark Warby ruled the tabloid had clearly breached the royal’s privacy and infringed her copyright by publishing parts of a five-page letter she wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, who she fell out with around the time of her 2018 wedding to Queen Elizabeth’s grandson, Prince Harry.
As a consequence of that ruling, Warby has ordered that the newspaper must run a notice on its front page and a statement about the outcome of the case in its inside pages.
He also ruled that MailOnline must also publish the notice of Meghan’s victory for a week.
“In my judgment these are measured incursions into the defendant’s freedom to decide what it publishes and does not publish, that are justified in pursuit of the legitimate aim I have identified, and proportionate to that aim,” Warby said.
“They will involve little if any additional expense, and certainly nothing approaching the scale of the expense that has been lavished on this litigation.”
Last week, Warby awarded 450,000 pounds ($630,000) as a provisional payment towards Meghan’s legal costs, with her legal team seeking an overall amount of more than 1.5 million pounds
At that hearing, Warby refused the paper permission to appeal his decision, but said it could approach the Court of Appeal directly, saying he saw “no real prospect” it would reach a different conclusion.
“We will be applying to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal, including in relation to aspects of the Judgment today,” the Mail on Sunday said in statement following Friday’s ruling.
Warby criticised the paper for failing to remove the offending articles from its website after his ruling.
“This cannot be accidental, or an oversight. In the absence of any explanation, I am tempted to infer that it is a form of defiance,” he said.
Meghan and Harry have been headline news in Britain in the last week ahead of the broadcast of an interview they gave to chat show host Oprah Winfrey which is due to be broadcast on U.S. television on Sunday.
(Reporting by Michael Holden, writing by Sarah Young; Editing by Mike Collett-White)