Prince Harry wins bid for review of Home Office decision to remove police protection

The Duke of Sussex leaving the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, London, on day two of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II. Picture date: Friday June 3, 2022.
Prince Harry has won a bid for a review into a Home Office decision to refuse him permission to pay for police protection while in the UK. (PA)

The Duke of Sussex has won a bid to bring part of his claim against the Home Office over levels of police protection he and his family receive when in the UK to the High Court.

Prince Harry brought a claim against the department after being told he would no longer be given the “same degree” of personal protective security when visiting from the US, despite offering to pay for it himself.

He challenged the February 2020 decision of the Executive Committee for the Protection of Royalty and Public Figures – known as Ravec – which has delegated powers from the Home Secretary.

In the first stage of the case earlier this month, the duke’s lawyers asked Mr Justice Swift to grant permission for a full hearing to have a judge review the Home Office’s decision.

In a judgment on Friday, the High Court judge said the case could proceed, granting permission for part of Harry’s claim to have a judicial review.

Mr Justice Swift said: “The application for permission to apply for judicial review is allowed in part and refused in part.”

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Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex attending Service of Thanksgiving to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen  part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, St Paul�s Cathedral. Credit: Doug Peters/EMPICS
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex quit working as senior members of the royal family and moved to Meghan's native California. (PA)

Harry and his wife Meghan had their taxpayer-funded police protection removed when they stepped back as working senior royals, choosing instead to move to the Duchess' native California to raise their two children.

Harry’s legal team are seeking to argue that the security arrangements set out in a letter from Ravec, and their application when he visited the UK in June 2021, were invalid due to “procedural unfairness” because he was not given an opportunity to make “informed representations beforehand”.

Shaeed Fatima QC, for the duke, told the court earlier this month: “He didn’t know at that stage that the Royal Household was involved at all … he was told it was an independent decision.”

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attending the Invictus Games athletics events in the Athletics Park, at Zuiderpark the Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Sunday April 17, 2022.
Harry and Meghan pictured in the Netherlands in April 2022. (PA)

However, lawyers for the Home Office say Ravec was entitled to reach the decision it did, which is that Harry’s security arrangements will be considered on a “case by case” basis, and argue that permission for a full judicial review should be refused.

In a public judgment on Friday, Mr Justice Swift said the duke had brought the claim for judicial review on five grounds, four of which were “arguable” and were granted permission, with some parts of the grounds removed.

This means there will be a full High Court hearing to review the duke’s claim.

Harry was granted permission on the arguments including that Ravec’s decisions were legally unreasonable, and that the duke should have been told about Ravec’s policy before its decision in February 2020.

The Duke of Sussex at the Invictus Games closing ceremony at the Zuiderpark, in The Hague, Netherlands. Picture date: Friday April 22, 2022.
Harry was granted permission on the arguments including that Ravec’s decisions were legally unreasonable. (PA)

Discussing one part of Harry’s claim, Mr Justice Swift said it was “arguable” whether the duke “should have had the opportunity to make representations direct to Ravec, including the opportunity to comment on other matters Ravec considered”.

However, the judge denied permission for other parts of Harry’s claim, including that he should have been told who the members of Ravec were and that he did not have the chance to discuss the “appropriateness” of some people being involved in the committee.

Since moving stateside, the Duke has visited the UK publicly on three occasions, for the Duke of Edinburgh's funeral in April 2021, the unveiling of a statue of his mother later that year, and for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in June of this year.