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Prince Harry ‘faces legal bill of £1 million’ after High Court security battle

Prince Harry could be landed with a mammoth court bill after losing his court challenge

Alex Ross
Thursday 29 February 2024 17:09 GMT
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Prince Harry faces a potentially huge legal bill after losing his High Court challenge against the Home Office
Prince Harry faces a potentially huge legal bill after losing his High Court challenge against the Home Office (AP)

Prince Harry is facing an estimated legal bill of around £1m after losing a High Court challenge against the government over taxpayer-funded security while he is in the UK.

The Duke of Sussex had taken the Home Office to court after it cut spending on his personal security, with the 39-year-old claiming the decision, made in 2020, could put him at risk.

But retired High Court judge Sir Peter Lane rejected the prince’s case in a ruling on Wednesday - and now the royal could also potentially be landed with a huge court bill as a result.

On top of likely having to pay for his own laywers, because he lost the case it is likely he will now also pick up the bill for the Home Office’s legal costs - as is what normally happens to the losing side after High Court hearings.

According to The Times, the Home Office costs up until October were £407,000. That included £265,437 for the Government Legal Department and £137, 864 for barristers since the legal complaint was filed in September 2021. That total amount was before a three-day trial in December.

It’s not clear how much Harry is likely to pay for his own legal team - but it’s known he hired the high-profile law firm Schillings International along with four barristers.

With his own costs and the Home Office’s combined, it’s believed Harry’s legal bill from the High Court challenge could reach £1m, according to estimates from The Times. He could be saved from the cost if he wins an appeal to the ruling - which he has said he will lodge.

Harry took legal action against the Home Office after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of publicly-funded protection when in the country.

The decision by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec) had “singled out” the royal and treated him “less favourably”, his lawyers argued.

The cut-back was announced after Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, decided to “step back as senior members of the royal family’ as they bid to become financially independent.

But Judge Lane rejected the duke’s case, concluding that Ravec’s approach was not irrational nor procedurally unfair.

In his 52-page partially redacted ruling, the judge said Harry’s lawyers had taken “an inappropriate, formalist interpretation of the Ravec process”, adding: “The ‘bespoke’ process devised for the claimant in the decision of 28 February 2020 was, and is, legally sound.”

Shortly after the ruling, a legal spokesperson for Harry said he would appeal.

He said: “The duke is not asking for preferential treatment, but for a fair and lawful application of Ravec’s own rules, ensuring that he receives the same consideration as others in accordance with Ravec’s own written policy.”

When asked by The Independent, the Home Office wouldn’t comment on its legal costs. A spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the court has found in favour of the government’s position in this case, and we are carefully considering our next steps. It would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The security case is one of three recent High Court cases brought by the duke, alongside claims over allegations of unlawful information gathering against publishers News Group Newspapers (NGN) and Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL).

Earlier this year, Harry settled the remaining parts of his phone hacking claim against Mirror Group Newspapers, with the royal receiving a “substantial” payout.

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