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London's High Court has accepted Virginia Giuffre’s request to serve a sexual assault civil lawsuit against Prince Andrew. The ruling means the High Court will intervene to ensure he is served with the lawsuit in line with international law.
In recent weeks, Virginia Giuffre's lawyers asked the British courts to inform the Duke of York of the case, however this was initially rejected on the grounds that he had not been served properly. But, after Giuffre's law team provided further information, the High Court issued the following statement: "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 Hague Service Convention (HSC) was set up in 1965 to ensure a reliable and efficient means of serving legal documents to parties in another country. In this case, the HSC enables Giuffre's legal team to ask the High Court to formally notify Prince Andrew about her civil lawsuit.
The High Court's statement continued, "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."
Following the ruling, the High Court will now begin locating Prince Andrew (who is thought to be staying with his mother, the Queen, in Balmoral) or his legal representation, to officially inform him of the case. This is known legally as 'service of proceedings.'
During the first hearing for Giuffre's lawsuit, which was held in New York on Monday (13 September), the Duke of York's lawyer, Andrew Brettler, claimed his team had not been properly served under either UK or international law. But Giuffre's team argued that the relevant papers had been left with a police officer at the gates of Prince Andrew's property in Windsor last month.
As Giuffre's case is a civil lawsuit, rather than criminal, Prince Andrew does not face the prospect of an extradition hearing.
Giuffre claims she was a victim of a sex trafficking ring involving convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, and says she was sexually assaulted by Prince Andrew when she was 17. Under US law, she was a minor at the time. Through her civil lawsuit, Giuffre is seeking unspecified damages, and if successful, could be awarded millions of dollars.
Prince Andrew has consistently denied Giuffre's claims.
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