Parts of Prince Harry’s claim against the Home Office will be kept secret – with a judge criticizing the Duke of Sussex’s legal team for a “totally unacceptable” breach of court rules.
harry is challenge the department’s decisionmade in February 2020, to stop him paying for police protection for himself and his family while visiting the UK.
The Duke wants to bring his son Archie and nine-month-old baby girl Lilibet on a visit from the United States, but fears they are ‘unable to return home’ as it is too dangerous, a representative has said.
Security issues if information is leaked
He offered to fund the security himself, rather than asking taxpayers to foot the bill after he steps down as a senior member of the royal family.
Harry now maintains that his private protection team in the United States does not have access to British intelligence information which is needed to keep his wife and children safe.
After a preliminary hearing last month, a judge allowed certain documents to be withheld or deleted, including a confidential witness statement made by the duke.
The judge said: “Some of the information relied upon relates to security measures put in place either for the claimant or for other public figures in the UK. For obvious reasons, information on these matters is generally kept confidential.”
Judge Swift said some of his reasons for the decision should also remain confidential
He said current and future security arrangements would be at risk if certain information was shared with the public.
“Information on these matters would obviously be of interest to anyone wishing to harm a person under security arrangements and would help them to reconstruct past practices with a view to anticipating present or future security arrangements,” he said. .
Prince Harry’s legal team criticized
Judge Swift went on to slam Prince Harry’s legal team for making the decision public before it was officially released.
Draft High Court judgments are usually provided to lawyers before publication.
Shaheed Fatima QC, who represents Prince Harry, said she and her team were unsure if emailing the decision to someone who was not a lawyer last week would break the rules.
She reported it to the judge yesterday – but Judge Swift questioned why she hadn’t done so sooner and slammed the ‘entirely unacceptable’ ruling which was a ‘clear breach’ of court rules.
“It is also unacceptable that you come to court without apologizing,” he said.
Ms Fatima said she took full responsibility and later apologized ‘for the fact that I hadn’t thought it through fully before sending the emails’.
The Home Office lawyer had previously told the court that the Duke’s private funding offer was ‘irrelevant’.
Robert Palmer QC said ‘police personal protective security is not available on a privately funded basis’ and the government ‘does not make decisions on the provision of such security on a privately funded basis’ that a financial contribution could be sought or obtained to pay it.”.