Prince Andrew in Windsor in April
The High Court today agreed to formally notify Prince Andrew about Virginia Giuffre’s bombshell sex assault claim against him – paving the way for him to have to give evidence under oath.
In a major development, English judges accepted a request by Ms Giuffre’s legal team to formally contact Andrew about the civil proceedings launched in America, after first rejecting it citing a technicality.
Today’s development paves the way for Andrew to have to formally answer Giuffre’s case in court.
The first pre-trial hearing was held on Monday in New York when the Duke’s attorney Andrew B Brettler said their legal team had ‘significant concerns’ about the lawsuit, and that Ms Giuffre had previously entered into a ‘settlement agreement’ that would nullify her case.
Despite Andrew being represented in court, his team state he has not been officially notified about the civil case – known as service of proceedings.
Under the Hague Service Convention, a treaty that governs requests between countries for evidence in civil or commercial matters, Ms Giuffre’s legal team can ask the High Court in London to formally notify Andrew about her civil action.
After earlier highlighting an issue with the application, the High Court said later: ‘The lawyers acting for Ms Giuffre have now provided further information to the High Court, and the High Court has accepted the request for service under the Hague Service Convention.
‘The legal process has not yet been served but the High Court will now take steps to serve under the convention, unless service is arranged by agreement between the parties.’
Ms Giuffre, an alleged victim of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, first filed a lawsuit against Prince Andrew in federal court in Manhattan, New York, on August 9. She is seen centre, with her lawyers
Andrew, Virginia Roberts, aged 17, and Ghislaine Maxwell at Maxwell’s townhouse in London
The question about whether Andrew had been properly notified was a major topic at the pre-trial hearing at the US district court for the southern district of New York.
Mr Brettler said during the hearing, held via telephone conference, the duke’s team contested ‘the validity of service to date’, adding he has not been properly served under either UK or international law.
David Boies, representing Ms Giuffre, said that the complaint had been ‘delivered to the last known address of the defendant’, he added that the documents had also been sent ‘by Royal Mail’.
But it appears Mr Boies and his colleagues are trying another course by making the request to the High Court.
Prince Andrew with his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson leaving Windsor to drive to the Queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland last week
Ms Giuffre is suing the Queen’s son for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. She is seeking unspecified damages, but there is speculation the sum could be in the millions of dollars.
She claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with the duke, when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.
Andrew has vehemently denied all the allegations.
In a car-crash 2019 interview with the BBC (above), Andrew claimed he had no memory of ever meeting Roberts