The high court has agreed to intervene if necessary to serve papers on the Duke of York in the sexual assault civil case filed against him in the US, it has said.
The development follows a pre-trial hearing in New York on Monday in which lawyers for Prince Andrew argued he had not yet been properly served with documents relating to the lawsuit filed by Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Giuffre alleges she was forced to have sex with Andrew when she was 17 岁, which Andrew denies.
US lawyers representing Giuffre have now requested service of proceedings by the high court under the Hague service convention.
最初, the high court rejected the request, but after further information was provided, agreed to it.
“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,” a high court spokesperson said.
“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 question of whether Andrew has been properly officially notified of the proceedings was a major point discussed at Monday’s New York hearing, held via telephone conference.
Andrew’s newly appointed legal representative in the US, Andrew B Brettler, said that the duke’s legal team contested “the validity of service to date”, adding he had not been served under either UK or international law.
David Bois, representing Giuffre, said the documents had been “delivered to the last known address of the defendant”, adding that they had also been sent “by Royal Mail”.
Bois added: “We believe we have complied with the service requirement and we filed proof of service last Friday.”
At Monday’s hearing, Brettler described the civil action as a “baseless, unviable and potentially unlawful lawsuit”. He also said Giuffre appeared to have signed away her right to sue Andrew in resolving a separate lawsuit in 2009.
Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
The Manhattan judge Lewis A Kaplan listed the case for a further hearing on 17 十月. He recommended both sides discuss the service of the case before the next hearing in order to get to the “substance” of the claim.