Letters sent by Prince Charles to Government ministers could be made public after an ‘unlawful’ veto to block them was overturned.
The Attorney General used a ministerial veto in 2012 to prevent the correspondence being released to a newspaper under freedom of information laws.
But today one of the country’s most senior judges ruled that he had ‘no good reason’ to do so and said the Government could not block their publication.The landmark decision sets a precedent that could open the floodgates for the release of sensitive information.
The decision could limit the Government´s powers to keep documents secret, allowing for more transparency in state affairs.
The case is believed to mark the first time anyone has challenged the Attorney General’s powers to block access to information.
Lord Dyson overturned the veto because he argues that Mr Grieve had acted against freedom of information laws and illegally under European law.
The Prince of Wales sent 27 letters advising ministers on Government policies. The order relates to 27 letters sent by Charles to seven different Government departments between September 2004 and April 2005.
The letters are said to show how the Prince of Wales has lobbied members of the Government on issues such as climate change.
According to Attorney General Dominic Grieve, the notes reflect Charles’s ‘most deeply held personal views and beliefs’.
Mr Grieve argued that the letters could damage Charles’s ‘role as future monarch’ because they show him ‘disagreeing with Government policy’.
Mr Grieve has said he will appeal against the Supreme Court decision.
The letters cannot be published until the outcome of the appeal.