Secret Hearing of Prince Phillip’s Will Was Wrong, ‘Interfered with Open Justice’
Lawyers for the Guardian told a Court of Appeal judge in London on Wednesday, July 20, that it was wrong to hold a secret hearing to decide the will of Prince Phillip, Queen Elizabeth’s late husband.
The hearing decided that the prince’s will should be sealed and kept private for 90 years and lawyers for the UK Newspaper are protesting the decision as well as the secret hearing. Continue reading and we’ll fill in the details.
Lawyers Call Secret Hearing ‘Most Serious Interference with Open Justice’
Holding this hearing over whether the Duke of Edinburgh’s will should remain sealed for the foreseeable future was the “most serious interference with open justice,” Guardian lawyers argued while challenging a lesser court’s decision to exclude the press from the July 2021 hearing.
Phillip, who was the Queen consort, died on April 9, 2021, two months ahead of his 100th birthday. Historically, for more than a century, when a senior Royal passes, an application to seal their will is made to the president of the Family Division of the High Court, reports Independent UK.
Judge Explains Secret Hearing was Protocol
According to US News, Andrew McFarlane, president of the High Court Family Division revealed that he had agreed that the will should be sealed “and that no copy of the will should be made for the record or kept on the court file.”
He explained that, by a convention that dates back to 1910, the death of a senior royal would be followed by an application to seal the deceased’s will and that those hearings and judgments would be kept private. McFarlane claimed to be the conservator of a safe that contains more than 30 envelopes with the wills of deceased Royal Family members.
Lawyers Call Decision Disproportionate and Unjustified’
The Guardian is appealing the Family Division of the High Court’s decision to exclude the press and public from the hearing, held on July 28, 2021. Another earlier hearing to keep the July 28 hearing a secret was also held.
The public knew nothing of either hearing until two months after McFarlane’s ruling. “An entirely private hearing such as this is the most serious interference with open justice,” Caoilfhionn Gallagher, the Guardian’s lawyer, told the court, calling the hearing and subsequent decision “disproportionate and unjustified.” Be sure and stay up to date on this developing story and return here often for more Royal Family News and updates.