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Nevertheless, R (On the
Application of Evans) v Attorney General1
considered the nature of the relationship between the sovereignty of Parliament
and the rule of law. The Evans case concerned a request put forward under the
Freedom of Information Act2 by
Evans, a journalist for the Guardian, for letters written by Prince Charles to
various government departments. It was claimed that the letters established
lobbying efforts by the Prince, disobeying the rule that the monarch and their
heirs would remain politically neutral. Although it was ruled by the Upper
Tribunal that the letters should be publicised, the government, via the
Attorney General (an “accountable person”), disagreed and issued a certificate
under S53(2) of the FOIA. This had the effect of a veto on the Upper Tribunal’s
decision, which constituted an attempt by a court to release any information thought
to be inappropriate. Evans applied for a judicial review of the certificate’s
insurance, however the Higher Court denied his application – the Court of Appeal
overturned this decision, quashing Attorney General’s certificate. It was ruled
that Attorney General did not have “reasonable grounds” to reach this decision.

The Supreme Court judgement dismissed the Attorney General by a 5:2 majority.

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This case highlights that the courts are capable of behaving in a well-developed
way with regards to the enforcement of the boundaries of the separation of
powers, regardless of the specific words used by parliament. Through this,
Parliament have proven that they are prepared to take a position that could
potentially be controversial on the meaning behind Parliament’s words. In this
instance, the court is claimed to have ignored the statutory intentions of

2015 UKSC 21

Freedom of Information Act 2000

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