Prince Harry wins The bid to challenge security decisions

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The Duke of Sussex has been granted permission to bring a High Court challenge against the Home Office over his security arrangements in the UK.

Prince Harry wants a review of the decision to not allow him to pay for police protection for himself and his family while visiting from the US.

A February 2020 decision ruled they would not be afforded the “same degree” of protection while in the UK.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex stepped back from royal duties in January 2020.

In a judgment on Friday, the High Court judge said the case could proceed, granting permission for part of Prince Harry’s claim to have a judicial review.

  • Harry faced tensions with royal officials – lawyer
  • Harry files legal claim over UK police protection

Mr Justice Swift said: “The application for permission to apply for judicial review is allowed in part and refused in part.”

A judicial review is where a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body, such as the Home Office.

The duke’s challenge concerns the February 2020 decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec), which falls under the Home Office’s management.

Ravec told the duke he and his family would no longer be given the level of personal protection he received as a full-time working royal.

Prince Harry won the right to challenge the lack of transparency around Ravec’s decision-making and its policies, and whether its decision about the level of protection was reasonable.

Partial victory for prince

This is a win for Prince Harry, but as the judge’s ruling spells out, there’s a long way to go between being allowed to challenge and winning that challenge.

The legal battle can move up to the next stage, but it was a partial victory, with many of the prince’s legal challenges over decisions about his security being rejected.

It might feel sometimes as though Prince Harry is now more of a feature of the law courts rather than the royal court.

And in the background to this is the still unresolved fall-out from Prince Harry no longer being a “working royal”.

Buckingham Palace has always been clear there are no “half-in, half-out” royals.

But this legal wrangle over levels of security when he returns to the UK once again raises the question of his status.

Prince Harry’s legal team have argued the security arrangements set out in a letter from Ravec, and their application when he visited the UK in June 2021, were invalid due to “procedural unfairness”.

They said this was because he was not given an opportunity to make “informed representations beforehand”.

His team also said he had not been aware that a top aide to the Queen, with whom he faced “significant tensions”, had played a role in the decision to downgrade his security.

Shaeed Fatima QC, for the duke, told the court earlier this month: “He didn’t know at that stage that the Royal Household was involved at all… he was told it was an independent decision.”

However, lawyers for the Home Office say Ravec was entitled to reach the decision it did, which is that Prince Harry’s security arrangements will be considered on a “case by case” basis, and argue that permission for a full judicial review should be refused.

Prince Harry and the Home Office will submit further information to the court ahead of any application for judicial review.

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