The case involved a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) by a journalist to see letters written by Prince Charles to various governmental departments. The governmental departments refused to disclose the letters on the ground that they considered the letters were exempt. The journalist complained to the Information Commissioner, who upheld the departments’ refusal. The journalist appealed and the matter was transferred to the Upper Tribunal. The Upper Tribunal decided that many of the letters should be disclosed. The determination was not appealed but the Attorney General issued a certificate under section 53(2) FOIA and regulation 18(6) EIR preventing disclosure. The journalist issued proceedings to quash this certificate. The matter reached the Supreme Court which held that the Attorney General was not entitled to issue the certificate overriding the Upper Tribunal’s decision in the manner that he did and therefore that the certificate  was invalid. The Court also held that reg.18(6) EIR is incompatible with Council Directive 2003/4/EC, which provides public access to environmental  information.

Supreme Court Judgement