What happens now judge has ruled civil sex assault case against Prince Andrew will go ahead?

ITV News Royal Editor outlines what the judge rules and what it means for the case now

No one who heard the judge’s reaction last week will be surprised that he has refused Prince Andrew’s request to have this case thrown out.

It means the legal wheels of this lawsuit keep on turning and the options for the Queen’s son are increasingly limited and unpalatable.

So what happens now?

In short, the case continues on its path towards a trial and the official position of those close to him is that he is determined to fight “to clear his name”.

So his options are these: dismiss, settle, default or contest.

The prospect of dismissing the case on a legal technicality now rests with an attempt to argue it cannot be heard in a federal court, its current location, because both the plaintiff, Virginia Giuffre, and the defendant, Prince Andrew, live outside the US.

Ms Giuffre (right) is suing Prince Andrew for allegedly sexually assaulting her when she was a teenager. Credit: AP

Whilst Giuffre, formerly Virginia Roberts, is an American citizen, she has lived for many years in Australia.

Prince Andrew, of course, is a British citizen and lives in Royal Lodge on the Windsor estate.

Ms Giuffre will have to answer questions on the domicile issue by January 14 after which Prince Andrew’s lawyer, Andrew B Brettler, might file another motion to dismiss.

Should that also fail, Prince Andrew will face an option to settle.

Mitchell Epner, former federal prosecutor, explains Prince Andrew could be questioned for up to seven hours at a deposition

The vast majority of lawsuits in America end in a settlement – an out of court agreement between the two parties usually involving some form of payment.

But experts in US litigation have told ITV News that Ms Giuffre is in a financially secure position – so she is unlikely to be persuaded by money alone.

She might therefore insist on some form of apology or admission of wrongdoing to accompany any financial settlement.

But Prince Andrew’s current position, and one he has maintained throughout, is that he strenuously denies Ms Giuffre’s allegations and says he doesn’t ever recall meeting her.

Those with knowledge of the Duke’s legal deliberations say that a decision to settle remains on the table but it is “not an option being considered at the moment.”  

Another legal route available to Prince Andrew would be to default.

A default judgement occurs when a defendant fails to respond to a court summons or to appear in court.

The court may then rule in favour of the plaintiff, Ms Giuffre.

None of the options facing Prince Andrew are simple and his reputation – already badly damaged – is likely to suffer further.

But in the lawsuit filed by Virginia Giuffre, she alleges she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew on three occasions. The Duke denies the claims.

The allegations are serious and Prince Andrew must now decide his next legal move.

Listen to the Royal Rota podcast from ITV News