What happened in London at PM Shehbaz Sharif's defamation case against Daily Mail.

Justice Matthew Nicklin at the London High Court has awarded costs to Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) in the defamation case brought against the paper by Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan, over allegations of corruption.

At a hearing here, the judge ruled that Shehbaz Sharif's lawyer will have to deposit APS30,000 by Nov 23 after the lawyers of Shehbaz Sharif applied unilaterally to the court to withdraw the stay application in favour of the trial proceedings to go ahead. Lawyers of Shehbaz Sharif at Carter Ruck made this move after Shehbaz was cleared in the money-laundering case by a court in Pakistan but the application for stay at the London High Court was made much earlier than that.

The court order shows that Shehbaz Sharif's lawyers applied for the 'stay' in the court in agreement with the Daily Mail newspaper to stay the proceedings. Before this, Daily Mail applied for several 'stays' citing the security situation in Pakistan, the Covid-19 lockdown and the inability of the legal team to travel to Pakistan to obtain evidence in the case.

According to legal sources, this 'stay' was agreed between all parties - Daily Mail publishers, Shehbaz Sharif and Imran Ali Yousuf - in agreement but then Shehbaz Sharif's lawyers decided to withdraw the 'stay' just ahead of the case management hearing where the dates for the trials were to be set.

The purpose of the costs and case management hearing is to set directions for the case to proceed to trial and to consider the parties' costs budgets, i.e. their estimated costs of the proceedings to a conclusion.

Legal sources said that Shehbaz Sharif's team decided to make this move after Daily Mail's lawyers at Wiggins LLP initiated talks with Sharif's lawyers at Carter-Ruck to consider ways to resolve the matter, including out...

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