Prince Andrew: High Court accepts Virginia Giuffre's request to formally contact duke over alleged sexual assault case

15 September 2021, 13:00 | Updated: 15 September 2021, 16:22

The High Court has accepted a request by Virginia Giuffre's legal team to formally contact Prince Andrew about the case launched against him in the United States.

Lawyers representing the woman who is suing the Duke of York for alleged sexual assault have asked the British courts to notify the royal about the case.

On Monday the first pre-trial court hearing in New York revolved around a disagreement about whether papers had been served and the duke made aware of the case in the appropriate way.

The judge told Virginia Guiffre's legal team they had a week to make other efforts to serve papers, which has resulted in them putting a request to the High Court in London.

After earlier highlighting an issue with the application, a later statement from the High Court said, "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."

The Hague Service Convention is a treaty that governs requests between countries for evidence in civil or commercial matters.

The question about whether Andrew had been properly notified was a major topic at the telephone hearing at the US district court for the southern district of New York.

On Monday Andrew Brettler, representing the Duke of York contested "the validity of service to date", adding that he had not been properly served under either UK or international law, and telling the court they had already approached the High Court in London about the matter.

David Boies, representing Ms Giuffre, said the complaint had been "delivered to the last known address of the defendant", and 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.

Ms Giuffre is suing the Queen's son for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager.

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.

Prince Andrew has vehemently denied all the allegations.