Prince Harry arrives at court in London for hearing against publisher
rince Harry made a surprise appearance at the High Court on Monday morning for the first skirmish in his legal battle with the publishers of the Daily Mail over allegations of unlawful newsgathering.
The Duke of Sussex was flanked by a security detail and met with a heavy police presence as he arrived at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London at 9.45am, before being led up to a private conference area within the courtroom complex.
Harry was not required to attend court himself for this week’s preliminary hearings, but nonetheless appeared in-person for a legal battle that pitches him once again in opposition to the Daily Mail.
Harry is suing Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) alongside Sir Elton John, the singer’s husband David Furnish, actresses Liz Hurley and Sadie Frost, former Liberal Democrat MP Sir Simon Hughes and Baroness Doreen Lawrence, whose son Stephen was murdered in 1993.
Frost is also at court for the start of a legal claim over allegations of unlawful information-gathering within the newspaper publisher.
The group of high-profile individuals announced they were suing the newspaper publisher in October last year, with lawyers saying they had “become aware of compelling and highly distressing evidence that they have been the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy.”
In a statement announcing the launch of the legal action, released by Hamlins law firm, it was alleged the unlawful acts included hiring private investigators to secretly place listening devices inside cars and homes and the recording of private phone conversations.
The publisher immediately hit back, describing the allegations as “preposterous smears” and a “pre-planned and orchestrated attempt to drag the Mail titles into the phone-hacking scandal”. A spokesperson for ANL also said the allegations were “unsubstantiated and highly defamatory claims, based on no credible evidence”.
Four days of hearings this week are expected to tackle a bid by ANL – the publishers of the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday, and MailOnline – to end the legal claims before they have got off the ground. The publisher is due to ask Mr Justice Nicklin to dismiss the claims without a full civil trial. The Daily Mail and its linked titles has consistently denied unlawful activity by its staff since the phone hacking scandal broke more than a decade ago.
News Group Newspapers has settled multiple claims against it over illegality at the now-defunct News of the World, and it has also settle claims relating to The Sun – without admitting liability at that newspaper.
Mirror Group Newspapers has also been embroiled in long-running civil claims over activities at titles including The People and The Sunday Mirror, admitting liability for widespread phone hacking.
Harry is already locked in another legal battle with ANL over his claim that he was libelled in a report about his security.