[JURIST] The United Kingdom Supreme Court [official website] ruled [text, PDF] Thursday in favor of The Guardian [official website], deciding that the UK newspaper may publish a series of letters between Prince Charles and high government officials. The court determined that governmental attempts to conceal the “Black Spider memos” were unlawful. The correspondences, taking place between 2004 and 2005, were initially granted to The Guardian by a freedom of information tribunal in 2012, but then-attorney general Dominic Grieve [official website] vetoed their release over concerns of what impact it would have on the prince’s future kingship.
The UK Freedom of Information Act took effect [JURIST report] in January of 2005, four years after its passage by Parliament. The Act [text], in conjunction with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act [text], make most government documents accessible to citizens through a request process. An amendment providing various exceptions was proposed in 2007, but failed in the House of Lords. The UK is one of more than 90 nations with a freedom of information act of some sort.