Meghan to pay $86,979 after losing first round of legal battle with The Mail over letter to dad Thomas Markle

The legal bill came up as High Court Justice Warby ruled in favor of the publisher and also struck out various parts of Meghan's claims as irrelevant


                            Meghan to pay $86,979 after losing first round of legal battle with The Mail over letter to dad Thomas Markle
(Getty Images)
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Meghan Markle has agreed to pay more than $86,979 (£67,000) as legal costs after she lost the first round of her legal battle against The Mail. Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), publisher of the newspaper, as well as MailOnline over an article that had reproduced some parts of a handwritten letter she had sent to her father. 

A written submission from July 22 revealed that Meghan had agreed to pay in full the publisher's costs for the strike-out hearing of £67,888. The legal bill came up as High Court Justice Warby ruled in favor of the publisher and also struck out various parts of Meghan's claims as irrelevant, Express reveals. It is reported that Meghan's lawyers had wanted to argue that the newspaper had been dishonest and had "deliberately" stirred up trouble and tensions between her and her father. She sued the paper for breach of privacy and copyright over its publication of several letters she sent to her father, Thomas Markle.

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As per the judgment in May, Justice Warby struck out those claims with ANL charging Meghan over the costs of the hearing. According to legal documents that been released on July 29, the High Court was told that "following written submissions by both parties, on July 22, 2020, the claimant agreed to pay the defendant's costs in full (£67,888)." In addition to her own legal costs, it is said that the hearing cost the Duchess of Sussex at least $1,29,880 (£100,000).

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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, visits Tembisa township to learn about Youth Employment Services on October 2, 2019, in Johannesburg, South Africa (Getty Images) 

Meghan has also applied for an order to keep secret the identities of her five female friends, all 'young mothers', at a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Meghan's legal team told the court, "To disclose their identities to the public at this stage is an unacceptable price to pay for the right to pursue her claim for invasion of privacy." Meghan is arguing that naming her friends would breach privacy under the European Convention on Human Rights, but the newspaper says the names must be disclosed for "open justice".

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However, Meghan's QC Justin Rushbrooke had accidentally said the surname of one of the five friends that Meghan is looking to keep anonymous. In August, Judge Justice Warby directed that the individual's name should not be reported. These five women had been named as the sources of a People magazine article in February 2019 in legal papers submitted by the Duchess to the court earlier this month. 

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The article is at the center of the Meghan case against the Mail as they were the first to reveal the existence of Meghan's letter to her father. In legal submissions, her lawyers had said, "Forcing the claimant (the duchess), as the defendant urges the court to do, to disclose their identities to the public at this stage is an unacceptable price to pay for the right to pursue her claim for invasion of privacy against the defendant."

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ANL lawyers argued that Meghan herself had compromised the privacy of her friends by supplying their names in a legal document. However, Justin Rushbrooke QC, her barrister, said that was "a grotesque perversion of what's actually happened". Rushbrooke said Meghan had been forced to identify her friends in a legal request by ANL and said that the five were entitled to "a very high level of super-charged right of confidentiality".

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The case is like to go to full trial next year and if it does then the costs will escalate to millions.