Attorney General 'wrong to overrule judges who ordered Government to publish letters Prince Charles wrote to ministers'
Dominic Grieve said his decision was based on view that letters were sent as part of Prince’s 'preparation for becoming king'
The Attorney General Dominic Grieve got the law wrong when he overruled judges who ordered the government to publish letters Prince Charles wrote to ministers, a court heard today.
Mr Grieve used powers he believed were legally available to him to allow Whitehall departments to keep the correspondence secret. But judges hearing an application for a judicial review of Mr Grieve’s decision were told that he did not have the power to override the earlier decision of judges sitting in a Freedom of Information Tribunal.
Lawyers acting for a journalist who originally sought their publication said Mr Grieve, the government’s chief legal advisor, made an “error of law” because using the powers under Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations in this case is incompatible with EU law.
Dinah Rose QC, representing Guardian journalist Rob Evans, argued that Mr Grieve’s error also led him wrongly to apply section 53 of the FOI Act “to the entirety of the information” which was the subject of the disclosure request when he had “no power to prevent all the correspondence falling into the public domain”.
Mr Grieve said his decision was based on his view the letters, penned by Charles during a seven-month period in 2004 and 2005, were sent as part of the Prince’s “preparation for becoming king”.
Making the letters public could potentially damage the principle of the heir to the throne being politically neutral, and so undermine his ability to fulfil his duties when king, he said.
In a written statement last year Mr Grieve said: “I consider that such correspondence enables the Prince of Wales better to understand the business of government; strengthens his relations with ministers; and enables him to make points which he would have a right - and indeed a duty - to make as monarch.
“If such correspondence is to take place at all, it must be under conditions of confidentiality. Without such confidentiality, both the Prince of Wales and ministers will feel seriously inhibited from exchanging views candidly and frankly, and this would damage the Prince of Wales' preparation for kingship.”
The case, being heard by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge, Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Globe, was adjourned until tomorrow.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...