Publication of Prince Charles’ “Black Spider Memos”

As readers of the Behind the Headlines column in Environmental Law and Management will be aware, the protection formerly afforded to the “black spiders” came to an end following the judgement of the Supreme Court in R (Evans) v Attorney General [2015] UKSC 21. This concerned an appeal brought by HM Attorney General against the decision of the Court of Appeal quashing a Certificate which he issued on 16 October 2012 under section 53(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (“the FOIA 2000”) and regulation 18(6) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (“EIR 2004”). The underlying question was whether communications passing between HRH The Prince of Wales and ministers in various government departments between September 2004 and March 2005 (a.k.a. “the black spider memos”, a reflection of the Prince’s distinctive handwriting) should be disclosed under a request made by Rob Evans, a journalist working on the Guardian newspaper.

As a consequence of the ruling of the Supreme Court, this afternoon the Cabinet Office published the following: Continue reading