The referee did the right thing when he decided to administer secret court hearing in which he forbade public from the testament of Prince Philip’s court of the appeal has been made.
The three judges of the Court of Appeal ruled what media had no right to attend or be notified of the hearing, adding that publicity would compromise need keep dignity of the queen and her family privacy.
On Friday, the judges dismissed the lawsuit. challenge The Guardian newspaper, which claimed that original decision exclude media undermined the basic principle of open justice demanding public access to litigation.
Last year Sir Andrew Macfarlane, President of in family division of the high court held private hearing in which he approved a confidential statement from lawyers for Royal family seal Philip’s will.
Windsor family since 1911 managed to get rid of the provisions in British law that usually requires a will of British citizens must be public.
Per more than a century the Supreme Court judges ruled secret hearings and granted private privacy statements 33 wills of members of Royal family. The judiciary has never dismissed such a claim by the Windsors.
The Guardian reports that these secret rulings banned public from knowledge how assets worth at least £187 million at today’s quoted prices in these closed wills were handed out.
In Friday’s ruling, adopted after the hearing last week, two judges of the Court of Appeal – Sir Geoffrey Vos, master of rolls, and Dame Victoria Sharp, President of queens bench division central said issue was whether McFarlane had acted wrongly and unfairly when he excluded media from hearing in July last year where he decided to seal Philip’s will for 90 years old. Philip died in April last year aged of 99.
They tested whether McFarlane could consider an alternative scheme that would allow journalists to have “a measure of of check” about how he came to his decision.
Vos and Sharp said they took note of in public interest in open justice but decided that “these are exceptional circumstances”, adding: “This true that the law applies equally to the royal family but this does not mean that the law gives the same results in all situations.”
They said that need for open justice was “adequately served” by McFarlane’s decision publish a ruling explaining his decision.
“The two critical things that needed to be protected were… public interest in a) protection of dignity and b) protection private rights of sovereign and close members of her family”, they concluded.
“The hearing took place at an extremely difficult time. for the sovereign and her family, and these interests would not be protected if protracted hearings were reported in press, not an isolated case on which the full the reasons for what was decided was published.”
The judges accepted the Guardian’s argument that the lawyer general was not the only person who could talk to public interest in question of public law, adding that the hearing could receive submissions from media also.
In Friday’s ruling, the third judge, Lady Justice King, agreed that MacFarlane was right. in excluding media. However, she also wrote that he should already thought more creative about alternative ways of allowing media study it carefully decision.
Norman Baker, former liberal democrat minister who It has also wrote a book about the royals, said: “This court decision is completely inappropriate.” in a country that claims to be a modern democracy. It is a false argument that the seal of Philip’s will is necessary for the preservation of dignity of Crown.
“Dignity is earned, that’s not right. And this dignity earned not behaving in in an indecent way, without putting on a blanket of secrecy of what should to be open.”