Clifford, currently serving an eight-year jail sentence for sex offences, has branded Burrell’s £50,000 High Court action for breach of confidence and misuse of private information as an “affront to common sense”.
Burrell says that he hired Clifford in 2001 to limit bad press coverage about him but, rather than stopping stories, the publicist passed on material to the now-defunct News Of The World.
Clifford’s case is that their agreement was for him to sell information to a newspaper and the fax was a “teaser”.
Last month, Clifford’s counsel, Lorna Skinner told Mr Justice Mann in London that the case was brought outside the legal time limit and would be a waste of court resources.
Yesterday, however, the judge refused to strike out the claim.
Clifford so far faces a costs bill for the action — which will be tried in January if it does not settle — of around £28,000.
He sent the fax of a personal letter written to him by Burrell to editor Rebekah Brooks in November 2002 —the day after Burrell was acquitted at the Old Bailey of stealing items belonging to the late Princess Diana. Brooks passed it on to royal correspondent Clive Goodman.
Skinner described its content, about Mr Burrell’s relationship with the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, as mainly “tittle-tattle”.