Prince Harry loses High Court battle with Home Office over paying for police protection

23 May 2023, 10:30 | Updated: 23 May 2023, 11:26

Prince Harry has lost his bid to challenge the Home Office
Prince Harry has lost his bid to challenge the Home Office. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Prince Harry has lost his bid to challenge a decision not to allow him to pay for UK police protection.

The Duke of Sussex had challenged the Home Office over his security arrangements when visiting the UK.

It follows a one-day court hearing in London last week.

Prince Harry's lawyers wanted a judicial review of the rejection of his offer to pay for private security.

Home Office lawyers argued against a judicial review, rejection the notion that rich people should be able to buy police protection.

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Prince Harry at the High Court
Prince Harry at the High Court. Picture: Getty

He was told it is not “appropriate” to allow wealthy people to “buy” armed police security - after a ruling that he couldn’t have the ‘same degree’ of protection after stepping down as a working royal.

But Harry's lawyers argued that the ruling currently in place shouldn’t prevent him from paying for officers out of his own pocket.

in his ruling, Mr Justice Chamberlain said: "In my judgment, the short answer to this point is that Ravec did not say that it would be contrary to the public interest to allow wealthy individuals to pay for any police services.

"It can be taken to have understood that s. 25(1) (of the Police Act 1996), to which it referred, expressly envisages payment for some such services.

"Its reasoning was narrowly confined to the protective security services that fall within its remit.

"Those services are different in kind from the police services provided at, for example, sporting or entertainment events, because they involve the deployment of highly trained specialist officers, of whom there are a limited number, and who are required to put themselves in harm's way to protect their principals.

"Ravec's reasoning was that there are policy reasons why those services should not be made available for payment, even though others are. "I can detect nothing that is arguably irrational in that reasoning."

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During a hearing last week, Robert Palmer KC, representing the home secretary, said the committee considered that “it was not appropriate to support an outcome whereby wealthy individuals could ‘buy’ protective security."

He added: "That would be precisely the effect of the [duke’s] claim."

It comes amid an ongoing High Court trial involving the duke, in which he is bringing a contested claim against Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) over allegations of unlawful information gathering.

Harry is also waiting for rulings over whether similar cases against publishers Associated Newspapers Limited (ANL) and News Group Newspapers (NGN) can continue.

A judgment is also expected over the duke's libel claim against ANL - publisher of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday - over an article on his case against the Home Office.

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