Duke of Sussex loses bid for second legal challenge over security
Prince Harry has been blocked from bringing a High Court challenge against the Home Office in a blow to his campaign for police security on trips to the UK.
The Duke of Sussex was stripped of access to a Met Police security detail when he and wife Meghan stepped down as working Royals and started a new life in the US.
He launched two judicial reviews against the Home Office, arguing he had been shut out of the decision-making process and his offer to pay for security himself had been rebuffed.
On Tuesday, Mr Justice Chamberlain refused to grant permission for a full Judicial Review in one of Harry’s two legal challenges.
The Home Office has defended the decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures (RAVEC) to deny Harry a security detail.
Scotland Yard chiefs also insist its officers cannot become “guns for hire” to the rich and famous.
In submissions to the court last week, the Met’s barrister Matthew Butt KC said a decision to allow Harry to bankroll police security would open the floodgates to other demands on its resources.
“To allow an individual to pay for protective security would create a precedent in which other wealthy individuals could argue that they too should be permitted to pay for such services”, he said.
The police say its services cannot legally be privately bankrolled, as Harry wants, and if defeated in court the force would have to divert resources from crime-fighting and fund the security detail itself.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Chamberlain said it was not “incoherent or illogical” for RAVEC to take into consideration that “if privately funded protective security were permitted, a less wealthy individual would feel unfairly treated, the availability of a limited specialist resource would be reduced and a precedent would have been set which it would be difficult to contain”.
Despite Tuesday’s defeat, Harry’s legal battle over security is far from over. He has already won the right to a full Judicial Review against the Home Office over the main decision to deny him protective security.
He can also appeal the ruling, in a case focused on decisions by the Home Office and RAVEC around his offer to personally pay for security.
Harry is currently locked in a myriad of High Court claims against government and the media.
He is in the midst of a trial against the Mirror Group Newspapers, arguing he was the victim of phone hacking and illegal newsgathering across 15 years.
The Duke is waiting for rulings on whether phone hacking claims against the publishers of The Sun and the Daily Mail can go ahead, and he is also bringing libel proceedings against the Mail publisher over reporting of his security battle.