UK Politics

Prince Charles letters to government must be published

Prince Charles
Image caption Departments must now identify which information should be published.

An appeal court has ruled that correspondence between Prince Charles and the government should be published.

Rob Evans, a Guardian journalist, submitted a freedom of information request to see the letters but this was denied by the information commissioner.

However, the appeal court said it was in the public interest "for there to be transparency as to how and when Prince Charles seeks to influence government".

Seven departments will now have to disclose the requested correspondence.

Mr Evans wanted to see letters between Prince Charles and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the Department of Health, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (which is now the Department for Education), the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the Northern Ireland Office and the Cabinet Office.

Previously, the information commissioner had denied the request, but the Administrative Appeals Chamber said the commissioner had given "insufficient weight to the public interest".

The court said: "Under relevant legislative provisions Mr Evans will, in the circumstances of the present case, generally be entitled to disclosure of 'advocacy correspondence' falling within his requests.

"The essential reason is that it will generally be in the overall public interest for there to be transparency as to how and when Prince Charles seeks to influence government."

The tribunal decision was unanimous.

Instructions have now been given to the relevant departments to identify the information to be published.

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