Prince Harry loses bid to sue The Sun over phone hacking after judge throws out case

Prince Harry cannot bring a phone hacking claim against The Sun after a judge threw out his case at the High Court.

The Duke of Sussex brought the claim against the newspaper’s publisher, News Group Newpapers (NGN), claiming he was the victim of hacking on behalf of journalists and private investigators for The Sun and the now-defunct News Of The World between 1996 and 2011.

At an earlier hearing in April, the paper's owners News Group Newspapers argued the duke had run out of time to bring a claim and in a hearing on Thursday the judge agreed.

The judge said in his ruling: “I am satisfied that there is no reasonable prospect of the duke proving at trial that he did not know and could not with reasonable diligence have discovered facts that would show that he had a worthwhile claim for voicemail interception in relation to each of the News Of The World and The Sun.

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“He already knew that in relation to the News Of The World, and he could easily have found out by making basic inquiries that he was likely to have a similar claim in relation to articles published by The Sun.”

The judge also refused to allow Harry to rely on an alleged “secret agreement” between the royal family and senior executives at NGN as part of his claim.

But the judge agreed the duke's claim over other allegations and use of private investigators can proceed to trial in January 2024.

David Sherborne, for Harry, also said in written arguments the fact the Prince of Wales settled a claim against NGN “for a very large sum of money” in 2020 also “supports the contention that there was a secret agreement in place”.

But Anthony Hudson KC, for NGN, told the court the bid to alter the duke’s claim is a “radical intended revision” of his case and he is “trying to ride two horses galloping in completely different directions” and “hedge his bets”.

Harry has been involved in six legal battles at the High Court in recent months.

His civil litigation has seen him bring claims against three major newspaper publishers over allegations of unlawful information gathering, as well as legal challenges against the Home Office in relation to his personal security.