Supreme Court due to rule on Prince Charles letters
Guardian journalist Rob Evans asked to see 27 letters written from Prince Charles to Blair government ministers in 2004 and 2005. He was refused.
He complained to the Information Commissioner and appealed decisions. In 2012, an independent tribunal of three judges ruled that he could see the letters, but then the Attorney General stepped in.
Dominic Grieve, who was Attorney General at the time, prevented publication of these letters because it would be seriously damaging to his role as future monarch because, if he forfeits his position of political neutrality as heir to the throne, he cannot easily recover it when he is king.
Mr Evans then sought judicial review of the decision on the grounds that it was unlawful because it was not based on reasonable grounds and was incompatible with the Environmental Information Directive and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
What are the “black spider” letters?
It’s thought that these letters to ministers, labelled “advocacy correspondence”, were from Prince Charles lobbying the government to change policies. In particular, at least one of these letters is thought to refer to environmental issues.
Grieve says the letters hold the Prince’s “most deeply held personal views and beliefs” and are “in many cases particularly frank”.
Keeping the letters secret has cost the taxpayer over ?275,000
This time last year, over ?275,000 – from eight different government departments – had been spent on this case.