A settlement used to protect Prince Andrew from a lawsuit alleging abuse of a 17-year-old girl should be made public, a judge has said.

The deal was reached between Jeffrey Epstein and Virginia Giuffre around 2008, the Independent reports.

Ms Giuffre claims she was trafficked by Andrew’s former friend, and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, to have sex with the duke, when she was aged 17 and a minor under US law.

Andrew has denied all the allegations.

Lawyers for Ms Giuffre filed the civil suit against the duke citing allegations of battery by sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Mr Brettler said that he believed the document “absolves our client from any and all liability”, adding other defendants had avoided similar proceedings by relying on its existence.

Though the secret agreement is currently sealed under the order of a different judge, according to Andrew B Brettler, the duke's lawyer.

US District Judge Loretta Preska said on Tuesday, December 14, that unless there were any valid objections by Epstein's estate, the secret settlement should be made public on or before December 22 as part of the Prince Andrew's case.

Judge Preska said the court questions "whether any proper purpose would be served by the continued secrecy of the document save, perhaps, the dollar amount the settlement provided it for”.

Prince Andrew stepped back from public duties amid the fallout from his relationship with Epstein.

It came after a 2019 Newsnight interview which saw him attempt to draw a line under his relationship with Epstein, but it ended up being dubbed a “car crash”.

During the programme he denied claims that he slept with Ms Giuffre on three separate occasions, saying: “I can absolutely categorically tell you it never happened.

“I have no recollection of ever meeting this lady, none whatsoever.”

Epstein was found dead in his cell in 2019 while awaiting a sex trafficking trial at a New York federal jail. His death was ruled a suicide.

Epstein's confidant Ghislaine Maxwell is currently facing trial in the US for sexual offences.

The London socialite is accused of preying on vulnerable young girls and luring them to massage rooms to be molested by Epstein between 1994 and 2004.