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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Jess Glass

Who are the seven people suing the Daily Mail’s publisher?

PA Archive

Seven high-profile people – including the Duke of Sussex and Baroness Doreen Lawrence – have brought legal action against the publisher of the Daily Mail over alleged unlawful information-gathering at its titles.

The group have brought claims against Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL), accusing it of allegedly carrying out or commissioning unlawful activities such as hiring private investigators to place listening devices inside cars or “blagging” private records.

ANL, which firmly denies the allegations, brought a bid to end the legal action, arguing the challenges had been brought “far too late”.

But a High Court judge ruled on Friday that the legal challenges could continue.

Here the PA news agency looks at the individuals bringing the claims:

– The Duke of Sussex

The Duke of Sussex, the second son of the King and the fifth in line to the throne, has been outspoken in his desire to reform the media.

Harry, 39, stepped back as a senior working royal in early 2020, and subsequently moved to North America with his wife the Duchess of Sussex.

Before leaving, Harry and Meghan said they would be adopting a new approach to the media and would end their co-operation with four British newspapers – the Daily Mail, Daily Express, the Daily Mirror and The Sun.

As well as his claim against ANL, Harry is also bringing legal action against News Group Newspapers (NGN), publisher of The Sun and the now-defunct News of the World, and Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN), now known as Reach, which publishes The Mirror, over alleged unlawful information gathering.

Harry appeared at the High Court in London in June to face nearly eight hours of questioning in his claim against MGN, making him the first senior royal in more than two decades to appear personally in court proceedings.

He also visited the Royal Courts of Justice earlier in the year to watch a preliminary hearing in his case against ANL.

– Doreen Lawrence

Baroness Doreen Lawrence of Clarendon is known for her campaigning following the racist attack where her son Stephen Lawrence, 18, was murdered in 1993.

The aspiring architect was stabbed to death by a group of up to six white youths as he waited at a bus stop in Well Hall Road, Eltham, south-east London.

The Daily Mail, under then editor Paul Dacre, campaigned to bring Mr Lawrence’s killers to justice.

On the front page of the paper’s February 14, 1997 edition, the paper labelled five men – Gary Dobson, Neil Acourt, Jamie Acourt, Luke Knight, and David Norris – as “murderers” and challenged them to sue the newspaper for libel.

In January 2012, Dobson and Norris were found guilty of being involved in the attack and sentenced to life imprisonment, after a forensic review of the case found significant new scientific evidence on clothing seized from their homes following the murder.

Lady Lawrence took her seat in the House of Lords in 2013, and subsequently was appointed a race relations adviser for the Labour Party.

– Sir Elton John and David Furnish

Elton Hercules John was born on March 25, 1947 as Reginald Kenneth Dwight, a name he later changed to his professional name. He was educated at Pinner County Grammar School and the Royal Academy of Music.

Sir Elton was knighted for services to music and charity in 1998 was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to music and to charity in November 2021.

During his career spanning more than six decades, he has performed on some of the world’s biggest stages, has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and won many accolades, including two Oscars for best original score.

The performer and his long-term partner David Furnish entered into a civil partnership in 2005 and nine years later, in December 2014, the couple married shortly after same-sex marriage was legalised in the UK.

The pair have two sons named Zachary and Elijah.

– Sir Simon Hughes

A former Liberal Democrat MP, Sir Simon represented Bermondsey and Old Southwark over a 32-year period until 2015.

The qualified barrister also stood as the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London in 2004, and was elected deputy leader of the party in 2010.

In 2019, Sir Simon sued NGN for misuse of private information and breach of confidence.

He accepted “substantial” damages from the publisher in 2021.

NGN also paid his legal costs, but made no admission of liability in relation to The Sun.

– Elizabeth Hurley

Ms Hurley is no stranger to legal battles with the press having previously complained of intrusions into her private life, including over her pregnancy and a paternity dispute.

In February 2019, the actress and model settled a phone-hacking claim against NGN just days before an expected trial in London.

In May 2017, she received damages and an apology from MGN – now known as Reach – in the settlement of a claim over the misuse of private information.

Ms Hurley had sued the publisher of the Mirror, Sunday Mirror and Sunday People over 58 articles between 1998 and 2007.

MGN admitted that “certain articles” she complained of derived from illegal activity.

The mother-of-one, best known for starring in the Austin Powers and Bedazzled films, also had a high-profile relationship with late Australian cricketer Shane Warne and was previously married to Indian textiles heir Arun Nayar.

– Sadie Frost

An actress and film producer, Ms Frost also has experience of media legal fights.

In 2015, she was awarded a record £260,250 in damages over phone hacking by MGN.

The mother-of-four complained about 31 articles – 27 of them admitted by the publisher to be the product of phone-hacking.

Her case – brought alongside former Coronation Street actress Shobna Gulati, ex-footballer Paul Gascoigne and others – was the first trial to have taken place over phone-hacking during years of litigation.

Ms Frost found fame in the nineties as part of north London’s so-called “Primrose Hill Set” of celebrities, including supermodel friend Kate Moss.

Her former marriages to Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp and actor Jude Law drew media attention.

In her case against ANL, Ms Frost alleges she suffered invasions of her privacy through phone hacking and the tapping of Mr Law’s landline when he was discussing details of their divorce settlement.

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