What To Know About Prince Harry And Elton John's Daily Mail Lawsuit

Big news about big stars can often mean big money for photographers, tabloids, and news outlets. But even famous people — whether royals or pop stars — are entitled to the same legal protections as average citizens. And when journalists seeking the next big scoop forget that, they can overstep a dangerous line.  

This is exactly what a lawsuit brought against British news outlet The Daily Mail by Prince Harry and other big-name people alleges took place. The suit, which names Associated Newspapers Ltd., publisher of the Daily Mail, MailOnline, and The Mail on Sunday, claims that Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, Sir Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, along with Elizabeth Hurley, Sadie Frost, and Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon have all been made "the victims of abhorrent criminal activity and gross breaches of privacy" (via ABC News).

While lawyers for Associated Newspapers Ltd. had requested that the case be dismissed, a United Kingdom judge ruled that this lawsuit would soon see its day in court.  

The details of the lawsuit

Judge Matthew Nicklin ruled that he would not dismiss the case without a trial, as Associated Newspapers Ltd. had requested (via Associated Press). Nicklin stated that the defense attorneys for the newspaper, in their motion to dismiss, had failed to deliver a "knockout blow" against the allegations laid against their client. Therefore, the suit, which accuses the newspaper of going to extreme and illegal means to gather information on the plaintiffs, stands. 

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his fellow celebrity plaintiffs specifically claim that the publication bugged cars and homes, recorded phone calls, and even illegally obtained medical records.

In a statement released by their legal team, The Duke of Sussex, Sir Elton John, and their co-complainants said, "As we have maintained since the outset, we bring our claims over the deplorable and illegal activities which took place over many years, including private investigators being hired to place secretly listening devices inside our cars and homes, the tapping of our phone calls, corrupt payments to police for inside information, and the illegal accessing of our medical information from hospitals and financial information from banks" (via ABC News). 

The Daily Mail maintains its innocence

In the same statement, the plaintiffs in the case have stated they are "delighted" about the Judge Matthew Nicklin's decision to uphold the charges brought against Associated Newspapers Ltd., and promised that they "intend to uncover the truth at trial and hold those responsible at Associated Newspapers fully accountable" (via ABC News). 

Of course, Associated Newspapers Ltd. maintains its innocence despite Judge Matthew Nicklin's ruling that the lawsuit will carry on. The company has said in a statement, "As we have always made unequivocally clear, the lurid claims made by Prince Harry and others of phone-hacking, landline-tapping, burglary, and sticky-window microphones are simply preposterous and we look forward to establishing this in court in due course" (via Associated Press).

Judge Nicklin, however, feels that each of the plaintiffs has "a real prospect of demonstrating that Associated, or those for whom Associated is responsible, concealed ... the relevant facts upon which a worthwhile claim of unlawful information gathering could have been advanced." So until the case is tried in court, the outcome is still uncertain.