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May 13, 2015

Prince Charles letters released

Category: freedom of information

Tag: Freedom of Information

Correspondence available on Cabinet Office website


Letters between Prince Charles and various Government departments – known as the “black spider letters” – have today been released. They can be found on the Cabinet Office website here, with a link to a separate scanned document for each Government department.

The release comes after the Supreme Court decision in March this year in the case of R (Evans) v HM Attorney General, in which the Supreme Court decided that the Attorney General’s veto was not valid and the letters should be released. The release of the letters marks the culmination of a 10 year campaign by Guardian journalist Dan Evans to obtain access to the letters under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

The Freedom of Information Act (section 37) was amended in 2010 to prevent future release of correspondence with the monarch, heir to the throne or second in line to the throne, providing an absolute exemption from the requirements of the Act. This exemption applies only to the Act itself, not the Environmental Information Regulations.

A 5RB case report on the Supreme Court decision can be found here. A news report here.

Links:

Cabinet Office website (containing links to the documents)

BBC News – Prince Charles’s Letters Published

Guardian – Prince Charles Letters

Sky News – Charles secret “Black spider” letters released

Telegraph – Black Spider memos published

Daily Mail – Revealed after 10 years – How Prince Charles wrote to Tony Blair

The Independent – Prince Charles ‘black spider’ letters: The Prince of Wales’ struggle to remain impartial