Judicial Review of Prince Charles Correspondence Veto Fails

A three judge Divisional Court comprised of Lord Judge CJ, Davis LJ and Globe J has refused the application of a Guardian journalist to judicially review the exercise by the Attorney General of the right of veto under section 53 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

The background to R (Evans) v HM Attorney General [2013] EWHC 1960 (Admin) is the decision of the Upper Tribunal ([2012] UKUT 313 (AAC); [2012] Info LR 352) that correspondence between the Prince of Wales and various Government departments was not exempt from disclosure under freedom of information legislation. Following the Upper Tribunal decision the Attorney General issued a veto under section 53, effectively overriding the decision of the Upper Tribunal.

This case is the first time a section 53 veto has been judicially reviewed.

Jonathan Swift QC and Julian Milford appeared for the Attorney General. Timothy Pitt-Payne QC appeared for the Information Commissioner as an interested party.

Further analysis will doubtless follow.

Christopher Knight