Prince Harry's lawyer slammed by furious judge in security row
The Duke of Sussex is bringing a claim against the Home Office after being told he would not be offered the same level of security when visiting the UK
Prince Harry's lawyer has been slammed by a furious High Court judge for breaching court rules over his claims against the Home Office.
The Duke of Sussex is bringing a claim against the department after being told he would not be offered the same level of security when visiting the UK, despite offering to pay for the personal protection himself.
Harry wants to bring his children to the UK, with his grandmother, the Queen, yet to meet their youngest Lilibet.
But he and his family are “unable to return to his home” because It’s too dangerous, a representative has previously said.
During a preliminary hearing last month, the High Court heard an application by both sides for some part of the court documents to be kept private.
And on Thursday, Judge Mr Justice Swift said the bid to withhold or redact documents, including a confidential witness statement made by Harry, was allowed.
Mr Swift said: “Some of the information relied on concerns security arrangements put in place either for the claimant or for other public figures in the United Kingdom. For obvious reasons information on such matters usually remains confidential.”
The judge went on to say that some of his reasons for his decision would remain confidential, adding that editing out information from court documents would “avoid the risk that putting information into the public domain concerning security arrangements made on past occasions, and the general approach to whether and if so what arrangements should be made, may impair the effectiveness of arrangements in place now, or which may be put in place in the future”.
He added: “Information about these matters would self-evidently be of interest to anyone wishing to harm a person within the scope of the security arrangements and would assist them to piece together previous practice with a view to anticipating present or future security provision.”
Mr Swift went on to slam Harry’s legal team for breaking the embargo on the document, calling it “entirely unacceptable".
High Court judgments are typically provided to lawyers in the case under embargo in a draft form ahead of being made public.
Harry’s representative, Shaheed Fatima QC, said she and her team were unsure whether sending the draft judgment last week was a breach, but had decided to report it to the judge on Wednesday.
But Mr Swift said it was a “clear breach” and questioned why it had not been raised immediately.
He added: “It should have been obvious that what happened was a breach. At the very least, it should have been obvious that it needed to be reported to the judge, me, at as soon as possible.”
“It is also unacceptable that you come without an apology to the court,” he later said.
Ms Fatima said she took full responsibility and apologised “for the fact that I didn’t think fully before the emails were sent”.