The Information Commissioner's Office has ruled that the Cabinet Office must release details of two pamphlets spelling out when officials drawing up new laws need to consult Charles in his capacity as Duke of Cornwall.
It follows a request under the Freedom of Information
(FoI) Act for the release of any guidance on obtaining the consent of
The Crown and the Duchy of Cornwall before bills are passed into law. The
Cabinet Office argued that the pamphlets - dating from November 2010
and August 2008 - fell into the category of "legal advice privilege" and
were not discloseable under the legislation.
However, in his
ruling - a copy of which as been posted on The Guardian website - deputy
information commissioner Graham Smith rejected that argument. "The
primary motivation ... was to provider drafters with indicators to
assist them in determining whether any part of a Bill might require the
consent of the Duchy of Cornwall and should therefore be brought to the
attention of the House authorities," he wrote.
The decision was welcomed the John Kirkhope, the legal scholar who submitted the original FoI request.
told The Guardian: "It was clearly in the public interest that citizens
understand how laws are made and applied as well as the circumstances
in which the Duchy of Cornwall is consulted."
The Cabinet Office now has until September 25 to release the information or to lodge an appeal.
spokesman said: "The Cabinet Office has received the Information
Commissioner's decision. We will be studying it closely and take a
decision on whether to appeal in due course."
Source: The Press Association