Meghan Markle to receive undisclosed sum after court fight with 'Mail on Sunday' publisher

Duchess will receive nominal £1 for damages and undisclosed amount for copyright infringement

Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Reuters
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The publisher of The Mail on Sunday has agreed to pay the Duchess of Sussex £1 nominal damages for misuse of private information, and an undisclosed sum for copyright infringement after a court privacy battle, a document showed.

Meghan Markle sued Associated Newspapers, also the publisher of MailOnline, over five articles that reproduced parts of a “personal and private” letter to her estranged father Thomas Markle in August 2018.

She won her case last year, when a High Court judge ruled in her favour without a full trial, and Court of Appeal judges subsequently dismissed an appeal by Associated Newspapers.

Some detail of the money the duchess will receive emerged on Wednesday, when a written case order by judges that summarises the conclusion of the Court of Appeal litigation was made public.

The appeal judges’ order also said Associated Newspapers would pay the lawyers’ bills accumulated by the duchess during the appeal litigation.

Judges said those legal costs would be assessed if not agreed on.

Meghan’s representative described the undisclosed sum for copyright infringement as “substantial” and said it would be donated to charity.

They said the duchess was clear from the start that this case was mainly about the difference between right and wrong.

The fact that Meghan won on privacy and copyright matters demonstrated the strength of both claims, they said.

The representative said that, after winning the case on a summary judgment, she chose to recover the profit the paper had made from the letter, relating to copyright, rather than a remedy of damages on the privacy part of the case.

The appeal judges’ order said Associated Newspapers had agreed to pay the £1 nominal damages for misuse of private information, and the “confidential sum” for copyright infringement by January 7.

Judges also said Associated Newspapers should pay £300,000 of the duchess’s legal costs, on account, by the same date.

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The judges’ written order was released by lawyers representing Associated Newspapers.

Megan's counsel Ian Mill, QC, said at a court hearing last year that Meghan was willing to “cap her damages” for misuse of private information “at a nominal award”, if the court would order “an account of profits”, or evidence of how much the publisher gained financially from its publication of the letter, in relation to the infringement of her copyright.

Updated: January 06, 2022, 4:07 AM