Upper Tribunal (AAC) concluded it should overrule the conclusion of the First Tier Tribunal that the Duchy of Cornwall was a legal person and a public authority for the purposes of the Environmental Information Regulations such that the Duchy was obliged to provide information about an oyster farm operated on lands forming part of the Duchy holdings. The Upper Tribunal concluded that the appellant was correct that the Duchy of Cornwall had no separate legal personality and was merely a convenient term by which to catch all of the lands owned by Prince of Wales in his capacity as Duke of Cornwall (to which lands, as a result, attached special rules on heritability, divestment etc). It went on to conclude that the only true addressee of an EIR request could be the Prince of Wales in his capacity as Duke of Cornwall; and it concluded that the Prince of Wales, in his capacity as Duke of Cornwall, was a "public authority” when discharging the function of statutory harbour master for the Isles of Scilly. But the Upper Tribunal accepted the argument that natural persons were only to be treated as public authorities by reason of an office or function they undertook when undertaking that office, and were not to be treated as public authorities for all purposes. The result was that the appellant had no duties as a public authority under the EIR other than in relation to his statutory harbour authority function.
As well as being of interest for its constitutional conclusions about the Duke and Duchy of Cornwall, the case is a now the leading authority on the application of the Environmental information Regulations (and the underlying Directive) to natural persons holding public office.
The full judgment can be read on the attached document.
Tom de la Mare QC acted for the Attorney General for the Prince of Wales in the successful appeal.