Prince Harry loses latest round of court battle over personal security in the UK

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The Duke of Sussex has lost his bid to appeal after losing his battle with the Home Office over his personal security arrangements when he visits the UK.

Prince Harry has now been ordered to pay 90 per cent of the Home Office’s legal costs for defending his challenge, which came after he was told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of publicly funded protection when in the country.

He took legal action over the February 2020 decision after he quit his royal duties and moved to the US.

In February, retired High Court judge Sir Peter Lane rejected the duke’s case, concluding that the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (Ravec)’s approach was neither irrational nor procedurally unfair.

He has now been ordered to pay 90 per cent of the Home Office’s legal costs (Reuters)
He has now been ordered to pay 90 per cent of the Home Office’s legal costs (Reuters)

The duke’s lawyers had previously told the court that he was “singled out” and treated “less favourably” in the decision to change the level of his taxpayer-funded personal security.

This led Harry to believe his children cannot “feel at home” in the UK if it is “not possible to keep them safe” there.

His lawyers had also argued a failure to carry out a risk analysis and fully consider the impact of a successful attack on him meant the approach to his protection was “unlawful and unfair”.

The government had argued the claim should be dismissed, stating that Ravec, which falls within the Home Office, was entitled to conclude the duke’s protection should be “bespoke” and considered on a “case-by-case” basis.

Harry and Meghan now live in the US and don’t get the same protection as working royals (Reuters)
Harry and Meghan now live in the US and don’t get the same protection as working royals (Reuters)

In an order on Monday, Sir Peter said that Harry should pay most of the Home Office’s legal costs, but said the government department had committed “breaches” during the legal battle which were “sanctionable”.

He continued: “They have resulted in the case being largely contested by reference to new grounds, which have not been subjected to the normal permission process.

“The breaches resulted from misapprehensions on the part of the defendant as to the duty of disclosure, which this decision has had to address at some length. It is therefore right that there should be a modest but still significant reduction in the award of costs to the defendant.”

The retired judge said the costs to be paid should be reduced by 10 per cent, rejecting an argument from Harry’s lawyers that it should be reduced by at least 50%.

Sir Peter said: “There is no merit in this ‘partial success’ submission … the fact that the court did not accept each and every submission of the defendant as to the path to take towards dismissal of the claim does not alter the fact that the claimant comprehensively lost.”

However, the duke is still able to ask the Court of Appeal directly for the green light to challenge Sir Peter’s decision.

Ravec exercises delegated responsibility from the Home Office over the provision of protective security arrangements for members of the royal family and others, with involvement from the Metropolitan Police, the Cabinet Office and the royal household.