Legal Business Blogs

FOI: Blackstone duo secure Guardian’s Supreme Court win over ‘black spider memos’

Blackstone Chambers‘ Dinah Rose QC and Ben Jaffey, alongside One Brick Court’s Aidan Eardley have secured a Supreme Court victory regarding the publication of Prince Charles’ ‘black spider memos.’

The trio were instructed by the Guardian News & Media’s Jan Clements while Leigh Day represented the Campaign for Freedom of Information which intervened in the case, instructing Nathalie Lieven QC, Richard Stein and Julianne Morrison. Timothy Pitt-Payne QC was instructed on the case by the Information Commissioner.

After a decade-long battle between The Guardian and Whitehall, five of the seven Supreme Court judges found that the then Attorney General Dominic Grieve did not have the authority to override a decision of the Upper Tribunal to publish letters sent by Prince Charles to government ministers, a judicial body which has the same status as the High Court.

Grieve in response to the Tribunal decision, which had held that the 27 pieces of correspondence should be made public, stopped the publication stating that he had, on ‘reasonable grounds’, formed the opinion that the Government had been entitled to refuse disclosure of the letters.

Blackstone Chambers’ James Eadie QC, 11KBW’s Karen Steyn QC and Monckton Chambers’ Josh Holmes acted for the Attorney General instructed by the Treasury Solicitor.