Meghan Markle’s case against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) received a further boost on Wednesday with the latest ruling in her favor.
Markle had sued Associated Newspapers, publishers of The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline, for publishing articles that in 2018 reproduced parts of a letter she had sent to her father Thomas Markle, on the grounds that they misused private information, infringed copyright and breached the Data Protection Act.
Lawyers for ANL had argued that the letter was co-authored by Jason Knauf, former communications secretary to the Sussexes, implying that its copyright belonged to the Crown.
However, on Wednesday, a U.K. High Court heard that Knauf “emphatically” denied being a co-author. In addition, lawyers representing the Queen informed Markle’s legal representation that they “did not consider the Crown to be the copyright owner.”
Knauf’s lawyers told the court: “Mr Knauf did not draft, and has never claimed to have drafted, any parts of the electronic draft or the letter and would never have asserted copyright over any of their content. In our client’s view, it was the duchess’s letter alone.”
Representing Markle, Ian Mill, QC, told the court: “This unequivocal statement of Mr Knauf’s position also gives the lie to the defendant’s inferential case, in its defence to both the privacy and copyright claims, that the claimant considered using the letter ‘as part of a media strategy.’”
Acting upon this, Lord Justice Warby granted summary judgement, meaning a final judgement in Markle’s favor that avoids a trial.
This is the latest in a series of court victories for Markle against ANL. In February, a U.K. High Court ruled in favor of her, saying that she had “reasonable expectation that the contents of the letter would remain private.”