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Earl Spencer and his estranged wife Caroline agreed to settle their divorce out of court to avoid publicity.
The Earl, 45 - brother of Princess Diana - and the 41 year-old Countess started the proceedings in March 2007.
The couple had sought a private hearing at the High Court, but on Tuesday Mr Justice Munby overruled this stating that it might be seen as "an attempt to circumvent the procedure laid down in the new rules".
In the first test of reforms that allow the media into family courts, Mr Justice Munby said that he had to weigh up their right to privacy and a fair trial under the European Convention on Human Rights against the freedom-of-expression rights of the media.
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