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Monday, Dec 05, 2022

Prince Harry not given enough information when police protection pulled, court told

Prince Harry not given enough information when police protection pulled, court told

Legal hearing challenges Home Office decision to prevent prince from paying for police protection when visiting
The Duke of Sussex received “insufficient information” about a decision to change his taxpayer-funded police protection when he is in the UK, the high court has heard.

Prince Harry has brought a legal challenge against the Home Office after being told he would not be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting the UK from the US – despite him offering to pay for it himself.

The court was previously told that the prince would not feel safe when visiting the UK with his family under current security arrangements.

Harry is challenging the decision made by the executive committee for the protection of royalty and public figures (Ravec) from February 2020, which has delegated powers from the Home Office.

The argument being made by the prince’s legal team is that his private protection team in the US does not have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to UK intelligence information which is needed to keep his family safe.

At the first hearing for the case occurred on Friday, Harry was not present. Although the preliminary proceedings were largely held in private, during an initial public part of the hearing, the judge, Justice Smith, summarised the four grounds forming the basis of the prince’s legal argument.

He said these included an alleged “over rigid application of the policy” and a “failure” to take into account “relevant considerations”.

The grounds also claim that conclusions reached were “unreasonable” and that “insufficient information” was provided in relation to the Ravec policy and “those involved in the Ravec decision”, the judge said.

Shaheed Fatima QC, who is representing Harry, provided the judge with two letters “on the membership of Ravec”.

She told the court that “we’ve been asking about the membership”, later adding that this would relate to “the relevance of the claimant’s knowledge about who he was dealing with and in what capacity”.

A legal representative for Prince Harry previously said he wanted to fund the security himself, rather than ask taxpayers to foot the bill.

In written submissions, Robert Palmer QC, representing the Home Office, argued that Harry’s offer to pay for his own security was “irrelevant” and that “personal protective security by the police is not available on a privately financed basis”.

The Home Office’s written arguments also claim that the prince’s offer of funding was “notably not advanced to Ravec” at the time of Harry’s visit in June 2021, or in any pre-action discussions.

Justice Swift is expected to give his ruling on the initial court proceedings, part of which may be confidential, at a later date.
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