16 Apr 2024

Prince Harry to fight on in legal battle over security

1:57 pm on 16 April 2024

By Sean Coughlan, royal correspondent for the BBC

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex arrives at the Royal Courts of Justice, Britain's High Court, in central London on March 28, 2023. Prince Harry and pop superstar Elton John appeared at a London court, delivering a high-profile jolt to a privacy claim launched by celebrities and other figures against a newspaper publisher. The publisher of the Daily Mail, Associated Newspapers (ANL), is trying to end the high court claims brought over alleged unlawful activity at its titles.

Photo: AFP

Prince Harry plans to continue his legal fight over changes to his police protection when in the United Kingdom, despite losing an initial attempt to appeal.

The Duke of Sussex had brought a legal challenge against the downgrading of his security when he stopped being a working royal.

He lost that legal claim in the High Court in February - and he has now had a further bid to appeal rejected.

But Prince Harry still intends to pursue this legal battle.

"The Duke of Sussex will be seeking permission from the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of Mr Justice Lane," said his legal team.

In a decision published on Monday, the High Court turned down Prince Harry's latest attempt to challenge the Home Office over the level of his security when visiting the UK from his home in the United States.

The ruling reiterated that the committee deciding on security for royalty, VIPs and senior public figures - known as Ravec - was entitled to have made its decision over changing Prince Harry's protection when his status changed, when he stopped being a working member of the Royal Family.

"The reality of the matter is that the claimant considers he should receive a different approach to his protection whilst in the UK than Ravec decided he should, based in part on his comparison of his own position with that of others.

"Ravec, as an expert body, concluded otherwise. It was entitled to do so," said the ruling from Sir Peter Lane.

And the judge said the appeal bid did not add to the claim but was a "recapitulation of the case" that had previously been brought.

Prince Harry's legal team had argued that he had been treated unfairly in the changes to his police protection, when he still faced significant security threats.

But the High Court ruled in February that there had been no unlawfulness in the decision-making.

The Ravec committee had decided that Prince Harry should have a "bespoke" arrangement for his publicly-funded security when in the UK, as he was no longer eligible for the level of protection for working royals.

This bespoke arrangement was "legally sound", the High Court had ruled, after a hearing in which much of the evidence had been heard in private for security reasons.

Even if there had been any "procedural unfairness" it would not have changed the outcome of Ravec's decision, the court had found.

Prince Harry's legal team had previously said it would challenge that judgment, saying he "hopes he will obtain justice from the Court of Appeal".

"The duke is not asking for preferential treatment," his lawyers had said after the High Court ruling, but they claimed there had been an unfairness in how decisions were made.

The ruling on Monday rejected the initial appeal attempt, but his legal team will now seek permission to appeal directly to the Court of Appeal.

There was also a ruling on costs, with Prince Harry having to pay 90 percent of the Home Office's legal costs of defending this challenge.

This story was originally published by the BBC.

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