Court of Appeal dismisses Guardian’s appeal in Duke of Edinburgh’s will case

Judgment has been handed down today by The Master of the Rolls, the President of the Queen’s Bench Division and Lady Justice King dismissing the appeal of Guardian News and Media challenging the decision to exclude press from the hearing in September 2021 where the will of Prince Philip was sealed for 90 years.

In a joint judgment, the Master of the Rolls and the President of the Queen’s Bench Division concluded that the President of the Family Division could not be criticised for failing to adopt the procedure urged upon the Court of Appeal by the Guardian. The primary reasons being that they did not see how the media could have been alerted, in the particular circumstances of the case, without risking a media storm, open justice was served by the transparency involved in publishing a full judgment, and that it was not litigation in the normal sense but a non-contentious probate application.

Lady Justice King gave a separate judgment. Whilst she set out her reservations about the procedure adopted below, suggesting a number ways in which the media might have been accommodated, she concluded that she could not say that the President was wrong and agreed that the appeal should be dismissed.

5RB’s Adam Speker QC acted for the Executor of His Late Royal Highness, the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

The judgment is available here.