BBC BLOGS - Graham Smith's Blog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Duchy of Cornwall is a public body, rules Tribunal

Graham Smith | 13:20 UK time, Thursday, 3 November 2011

The BBC's legal correspondent Clive Coleman writes:

The First-tier Tribunal today decided that the Duchy of Cornwall is subject to the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 ("EIR") and is required to deal with a request for environmental information relating to an oyster farm in Cornwall.

The request was made by a local resident Michael Bruton who was trying to find out if relevant consents and permissions had been given, and environmental assessments had taken place. The Tribunal concluded that, as they understood the Duchy's evidence, no Environmental Assessment of the Oyster Farm had been carried out.

The EIR are part of the freedom of information regime in the UK, which implement a European Directive which requires public authorities to disclose environmental information unless an exception applies.

The Duchy of Cornwall maintained that it was not a public authority under EIR and therefore did not have to deal with the request.

The Tribunal found that the Duchy of Cornwall was a public authority under Reg 2(2)(c) or (d) EIR - a body or other person that carries out functions of public administration or a body or other person under the control of such a body or person.

The Duchy is required to disclose the information or issue a refusal notice setting out which exceptions apply within 28 days of the Tribunal's decision.

STOP PRESS: Statement from the Duchy of Cornwall

"The Duchy is reviewing the Tribunal's reasons for reaching its conclusion with a view to establishing whether to appeal the decision."
I think Michael Bruton will be a guest on BBC Radio Cornwall's Breakfast programme tomorrow morning, just after 7am.


  • Comment number 1.

    "The Tribunal found that the Duchy of Cornwall was a public authority under Reg 2(2)(c) or (d) EIR - a body or other person that carries out functions of public administration or a body or other person under the control of such a body or person."

    So not a "Private Estate" then!?!?

  • Comment number 2.

    We all knew the truth would come out in the end. The Private Estate spiel is nothing but nonsense. I don't know what a private estate is supposed to mean, but being created by Royal Charter and having veto powers on matter effecting the territory of Cornwall and Scilly is anything but 'private'. Besides what body doesn't have to answer FOI requests and what multi million pound company doesn't have their accounts available for public scrutiny at Companies House? the answer is none. The Duchy needs to be brought under public scrutiny and the feudal way they duck in and out of laws such as the environment needs to be changed.

    Hopefully recognising the constitutional implications of the Duchy and Cornwall will lead to Clarence House reassessing their relationship with Kernow and stop treating us like a cash cow and start taking some responsibility for the welfare of the people. Cornish people for several centuries have supported successive Dukes (and made them rich) time there was some two way traffic.

  • Comment number 3.

    On the basis of this decision would Peninsula Community Health CIC be found to be a public authority and thus required to answer Freedom of Information requests?

  • Comment number 4.

    It seems that the tissue of lies woven by the Duchy of Cornwall, and the various UK governments that have conspired with it over the years, is starting to unravel. For years now, contrary to the research we have undertaken, Cornish campaigners have been told by the Duchy and successive governments that the Duchy of Cornwall is simply a private estate, a collection of properties, and not a public body.

    Perhaps the first nail in the coffin of this lie has been nailed home:

    Over the years, on many a forum, I've encountered those who have been quick to claim the Duchy is but a private estate. To all those sock puppets, trolls and stooges - some in the pocket of the Duchy/establishment, and some, no doubt, simply gullible - well I think you can imagine what I'd like to say to you all ;-)

    Oll an gwella

  • Comment number 5.

    The desperation of some to find meaning shines bright as the usual suspects tout this as a conquest for nationalism, when it was one man Michael Bruton who has a justified rational for needing to find out the truth, all power to him, none to the troublemakers living Paris who seek to exploit this to create division as this does little to change the world that surrounds us, but I hope makes the Duchy more accountable and responsible

  • Comment number 6.

    Does this mean that the BBC will now deem it 'appropriate' to refer to Cornwall as a Duchy - at the very least when it is mentioned in connection with the Duke's quasi-sovereign powers? Or will the BBC continue to play its part in hiding the constitutional status of Cornwall?

  • Comment number 7.

    At the end of the day what is hoped to be achieved from all this? I can see it must be a big moral booster for the nationalists to have gotten this far, but when all the dust has settled what is there to be gained, apart from more transparency from the higher ups?

    I am sure there are others like me who read this blog who are more than interested in your opinions.

  • Comment number 8.

    Despite the comments from nationalists, this "revelation" does nothing to affect the day-to-day lives of the majority of folk in Cornwall.

  • Comment number 9.

    Always a good and most relevant read:

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.