Prince Harry wins right to use confidential documents against Daily Mail publisher

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Prince Harry

2nd March 2024 – (London) Prince Harry has achieved a strategic win in his ongoing legal skirmishes with UK tabloids, as governmental officials sanctioned the use of confidential documents in his case against the Daily Mail’s publisher, Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANL). These documents allegedly reveal transactions between ANL and private detectives who are accused of intrusive surveillance on the Duke and several public figures.

The Duke of Sussex, alongside Sir Elton John, Elizabeth Hurley, and others, has accused ANL of engaging in phone hacking and other illegal surveillance tactics. Despite the publisher’s vehement denial of these claims, describing them as baseless and ludicrous, the legal battle continues.

Justice Matthew Nicklin’s November ruling refused to dismiss the lawsuit but presented a complication for Prince Harry’s camp. Financial records detailing payments to investigators, which Harry’s legal team received from a government probe into phone hacking, were restricted in their use. They required consent from the newspapers or authorisation from the judge or government ministers who initiated the inquiry, known as the Leveson Inquiry.

On Friday, a joint announcement from the Home and Culture Secretaries, who ordered the Leveson Inquiry, declared these documents admissible in court. “The public interest in a fair, expedient, and cost-effective resolution of these proceedings surpasses the competing public interests,” the statement read.

ANL has opted not to comment on this latest development.

This breakthrough arrives amidst a series of legal contests for Prince Harry, including upcoming trials against ANL and another alongside Hugh Grant against The Sun’s publisher. December saw Harry triumphant in a separate action against Mirror Group Newspapers for pervasive phone hacking, which culminated in a settlement covering his legal expenses, with an interim payment reported at £400,000.

The 39-year-old royal, who has distanced himself from conventional royal approaches by actively pursuing legal action, has experienced a mixed record in his various lawsuits. Recent days have seen him lose a case regarding the withdrawal of his government-funded UK security detail and abandon a defamation claim against the Daily Mail, potentially exposing him to substantial legal costs.