MemberSeptember 19, 2021 at 8:28 am
But that’s not the way the prince’s newly-appointed Los Angeles lawyer saw it.
Andrew Brettler, on the line from California, argued the duke had not been served at all – and it should be for the High Court in London to decide.
And that’s because of a not widely known but extremely important international agreement called the Hague Convention.
This agreement means an American court can ask a British one for help in tracking down a defendant and serving papers on them.
Judge Kaplan told the duke’s LA lawyer that if he continued to object to Ms Giuffre’s team chasing down Prince Andrew themselves, he would indeed consider sending a judge-to-judge request to the British for help.
“I think we are making this a lot more complicated that it really is,” he remarked on the call.
“Regardless of whether your client has been served effectively to date… you have a pretty high degree of certainty that he can be served sooner or later.”
And that’s where Master Barbara Fontaine comes in, The Queen’s Remembrancer.
She’s the High Court judge in charge of overseeing foreign requests for help.
What about the Queen’s Remembrancer bit? That’s an ancient judicial title. One of her duties is to review for the monarch the annual plans for new trees in the Forest of Dean – but this and other ceremonial roles have nothing to do with her modern legal duties.
On Wednesday Master Fontaine confirmed she had received a valid request for assistance from New York. That meant her office would soon send the allegations to Prince Andrew once and for all.
But London solicitors for the duke objected – so the process stalled again. They have until next Friday to launch a formal challenge.
Will that happen? Well, there’s now been an important twist back in New York.
Late on Thursday, Judge Kaplan ruled that Andrew Brettler, the Los Angeles lawyer who had joined the teleconference for the prince earlier in the week, should now be sent the documents.
He said: “Service on the defendant’s US counsel is reasonably calculated to bring the papers served to the defendant’s attention, regardless of whether his US counsel is authorised to accept service on his behalf.”
And so after weeks and weeks of too-ing and fro-ing it appears the New York judge has decided it’s time to get on with things.