solproviding evidence can be unnerving at best, particularly when challenged by some of the country’s best legal minds in a case already described as the process of the century.
Then spare a thought for Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, who must be examined by a man so intelligent that he got a first in theoretical physics in Cambridge before going to law and one who got a double first in the same university.
Last fall, he announced plans to sue Mail on Sunday for the publication of excerpts from a letter he sent to his father Thomas Markle, accusing him of breaking his heart “in a million pieces.”
The Duchess claims that this constituted a copyright infringement and an intrusion into her privacy.
But Adrian Speck, the 51-year-old QC appointed with Antony White’s quality control to represent the document in his defense against the Duchess, is unlikely to find himself hit by a star or impressed too much by his real status or his airy charm from Hollywood.
In fact, the full educated school attorney is expected to subject his claim that the publication of the letter constituted a meticulous and forensic scrutiny of copyright, while Mr. White will transform his legal brain into his claim that the newspaper intruded on his privacy.
Meghan has already had a glimpse of what might be in store for her if the case reaches the High Court without being resolved early.
Mail on Sunday’s defense document filed with the High Court last week mercilessly shows the deteriorated relationship of the Duchess and her father Thomas while at the same time accusing the Duchess of being allegedly – at least in part – architect of her violation of the privacy.
He suggests that when he wrote the letter to his father, he knew it would probably end up in the public domain.
In addition, in what made reading uncomfortable, the 44-page defense presented by Associated Newspapers, the owners of Mail on Sunday, contains details of text messages and phone calls between the Duke and Duchess and Mr Markle, both with a view to and the day after their wedding on May 19, 2018.
The document, written by White QC, of Matrix Chambers, and by Speck QC, of 8 New Square Chambers, is the type of combative defense that suggests that their line of discussion will be far from the kind of deferential exchange to which the Duchess could have accustomed, both as a Hollywood celebrity and since his marriage to Prince Harry, an elderly member of the royal family.
He points out that the royal family is a public figure supported “largely by public funds” and that, by way of example, the security law for their wedding at Windsor Castle cost the taxpayer £ 30 million.
He also claims that the Duchess, 38, enjoys the lifestyle of someone with “extreme wealth or elite connections” who flies to Ibiza, for example, always on a private jet.
Brighton-born Speck studied at Seaford Head Comprehensive School in East Sussex before attending King’s College in Cambridge. Here he holds a first class degree in Physics and Theoretical Physics.
He then moved on to the law, gaining recognition in the Common Professional Examination before being called to the bar in 1993 with the Wilfred Parker award.
If in doubt about his pedigree, Mr Speck’s reviews on several legal websites will make reading Meghan and his legal team uncomfortable.
“Very good, intelligent and tenacious; he does not delight in the law for himself, but he delights in the hard and chaos of the defense,” says one.
Another on the legal ranking site Chambers and Partners proclaims: “He is super intelligent and a real legal brain that thinks outside the box.”
Mr White’s legal background, known for his quick thinking and clarity in court, is probably equally intimidating.
He got the double for the first time in Cambridge and is considered the leader of silk in the field of defamation and privacy that the Duchess has chosen to fight on.
Chamber and Partners says of Mr White: “He has a fantastic intellect, great defense skills and is perfect with clients”.
Another review states: “He is an absolute star, extremely bright, an excellent communicator and a great supporter.”
And here is one that should really interest the Duchess’ advisers: “Silently and methodically destroys an opponent’s argument rather than engaging in theater”
Whatever Meghan expects, it won’t be an easy ride.