Prince Harry mounts High Court challenge over police security arrangements
Prince Harry is mounting a second legal challenge against the Home Office over the decision to bar him from paying for a police security detail during trips to the UK.
The Duke of Sussex lost his right to security protection when he and wife Meghan stood down as working Royals and left the UK.
A decision was then taken that the Prince could not privately fund Metropolitan Police protection for him and his family in the future, after being told officers were not “guns for hire”.
Harry was granted permission in July last year to bring a first judicial review over that decision, which had been taken by the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC).
At the High Court on Tuesday, the Duke mounted a second legal challenge, arguing the question of paying for protection should not have been delegated to RAVEC by the Home Office.
Lawyers for the Prince say he was “not given any opportunity to make representations to RAVEC, and to comment on any representations RAVEC took into account, before the funding decision was made”.
He also argues there is a power for a police chief to decide that “special police services” can be privately paid for by an individual.
Permission to bring the second judicial review challenge was denied by a judge in February, after consideration of the Prince’s submissions in writing.
Shaheed Fatima KC, leading Harry’s legal team, is now making a fresh application to bring forward the challenge at a High Court hearing today.
In response, Robert Palmer KC, representing the Home Secretary, urged the court to uphold the judge’s original decision and throw out Harry’s case.
“RAVEC was entitled (indeed, correct) to characterise there being significant legal uncertainty as to whether or not the provision of Protective Security (including firearms) falls within the scope of section 25 of the Police Act 1996 at all”, he said, in written submissions.
“The Claimant has identified no case law, guidance or practice which addresses this type of scenario and suggests otherwise.
“RAVEC was entitled to take account of that uncertainty as relevant to whether a decision which favoured the use of private funding could actually be delivered. It was not obliged to reach a purported authoritative view.”
The Home Office says the decision to block Harry’s security detail was “rational and well within the permissible range of decisions open to RAVEC”.
“RAVEC was not required to offer the Claimant the opportunity to make representations in relation to the Funding Decision, and given the nature of the arguments now advanced by the Claimant, the Court can be confident that such representations would have been highly likely to have made no substantial difference in any event”, they added.
Harry is fighting on two fronts in the High Court on Tuesday, with a seven-week phone hacking trial against Mirror Group Newspapers ongoing in another part of the Royal Courts of Justice.
In separate legal cases, the Prince is also suing the owners of The Sun and Daily Mail newspapers over claims of unlawful newsgathering against him.