Policies and minutes

John Cross made this Environmental Information Regulations request to Duchy of Lancaster
This authority is not subject to FOI law, so is not legally obliged to respond (details).


This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by Duchy of Lancaster.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to request information from the Duchy of Lancaster under The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 ("the EIR").

Please can you provide me with:

(1) copies of any operational policy documents of the Duchy that contain environmental information[a] and

(2) copies of any minutes for meetings taking place between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2008 which contain environmental information.[a]

[a] for the purpose of this request 'environmental information' means the same as in the EIR.

Please acknowledge receipt.

Yours faithfully,

John Cross

Paul Clarke, Duchy of Lancaster

Dear Mr Cross,

Thank you for your e-mail enquiry and I apologise for the slight delay
in replying to you.

The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 only apply to Public
Authorities. The Duchy of Lancaster is not such an authority but a
private estate held for the benefit of Her Majesty.

I am sorry that I cannot be of assistance to you in this instance.

Paul R. Clarke, CVO
CEO and Clerk of the Council

Direct Tel : 020 7269 1701 (with voicemail)
PA (Julie Townsend): 020 7269 1702
Office Tel : 020 7269 1700
Office Fax : 020 7269 1710
Website : www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk

This message is confidential and may be legally privileged or otherwise
protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, please
telephone or e:mail the sender and delete this message and any
attachment from your system; you must not copy or disclose the contents
of this message or any attachment to any other person.

show quoted sections

Dear Paul Clarke,
Thank you for your recent email.

If there is someone in the Duchy of Lancaster who reviews responses to requests for information from the public I would be grateful if you could pass my response to them. Obviously I am not fully satisfied with the response I received as I did not get any of the information I asked for.

If there is no person who performs this function then I would be grateful if you could confirm that I have exhausted the internal review process for information requests.

Yours sincerely,

John Cross

Paul Clarke, Duchy of Lancaster

Dear Mr Cross,

As CEO I am the final executive authority on this matter. The Duchy of
Lancaster is not a "public authority" as defined within Paragraph (2) of
the Regulations and as such the Regulations do not apply to this
organisation. Therefore, I am unable to be off any further assistance in
respect of your specific requests.

Paul R. Clarke, CVO
CEO and Clerk of the Council

Direct Tel : 020 7269 1701 (with voicemail)
PA (Julie Townsend): 020 7269 1702
Office Tel : 020 7269 1700
Office Fax : 020 7269 1710
Website : www.duchyoflancaster.co.uk

This message is confidential and may be legally privileged or otherwise
protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, please
telephone or e:mail the sender and delete this message and any
attachment from your system; you must not copy or disclose the contents
of this message or any attachment to any other person.

show quoted sections

John Cross left an annotation ()

The Duchy of Lancaster appears in "a list of those public bodies which have Crown status".

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/advice/crown-copy...

John Cross left an annotation ()

Quick update: Case Reference Number FS50235796

"Thank you for your correspondence dated 22 February 2009 regarding the Duchy of Lancaster’s compliance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

I regret to inform you that, having consulted with the Cabinet Office and our own legal team, it appears the Duchy of Lancaster is not subject to either the Act or the Regulations.

Decisions about FoI and EIR coverage are taken by the Ministry of Justice. If you would like more information about the bodies subject to the Act you can write to them at:..."

John Cross left an annotation ()

extract from my reply (sent today):
"Please could you explain the basis for the ICO's interpretation that the Duchy of Lancaster appears not to be subject to the Environmental Information Regulations was reached. I have found out recently that the Duchy appear on a list of Crown Bodies on the OPSI website [http://www.opsi.gov.uk/advice/crown-copy....

I think I made a fairly strong argument (see attached) in support of my belief that it is subject to the Regulations. I would like to see the argument against.

I would also like to be told about my right to appeal this decision or to complain about the ICOs handling of this matter. ..."

John Cross left an annotation ()

I have asked the ICO to provide all the correspondence and internal documents about this case:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/du...

John Cross left an annotation ()

The ICO's first response was to say that the Duchy is a private estate and not a public authority but today the ICO wrote to me to say:

"I am grateful for the arguments submitted and the issue has been the cause of much debate. In short, I have decided to re-open the case and complete a more thorough examination of the facts presented. This does not necessarily represent a change of outcome, but simply an opportunity to re-evaluate the issue as a whole, as I felt that a simple case review on my part would not have done the matter justice."

Ganesh Sittampalam left an annotation ()

I see you've appealed this case to the tribunal - have the ICO now issued a decision notice?

John Cross left an annotation ()

The ICO wrote a fairly formal letter stating their view that the Duchy is not a public authority [so in theire view no power to issue a Decision Notice] but saying they would not seek to take issue with the jurisdiction of the tribunal if I appealed.

John Cross left an annotation ()

Appeal reference: EA/2010/0101

Helen Cross left an annotation ()

The appeal has now been heard and the Information Tribunal has ruled that the Duchy of Lancaster is not a Public Authority for the purposes of EIR.

Link to the full judgement: http://bit.ly/e2JoZ2

Philip Hosking left an annotation ()

Plymouth Law Review (2010) 1 128
“A Mysterious, Arcane and Unique Corner of our Constitution”:
The Laws Relating to the Duchy of Cornwall

Historically, legally and constitutionally the Duchy of Cornwall has been consistently referred to as „simply‟ a „private estate‟ allowing it to enjoy a privileged status with significant benefits and concessions. This article argues that this is a somewhat anachronistic position and one that demands further investigation not least because of the opaque nature of the institution and its accountability within a twenty-first century
constitutional framework.

Opens PDF file: http://www.research.plymouth.ac.uk/plr/v...
--

Graham Senior-Milne left an annotation ()

The Duchy is a private estate but it exercises certain powers of the Crown; the jura regalia. As a body which exercises certain powers of the Crown it is a public body. The distinction is a familiar one in feudal law because the grant of a feudal barony (and a county palatine is feudal barony) consisted of a grant of the 'lands and the barony of x' (this is the normal formula in Scotland). In other words, the land was separate from the barony, which was a jurisdiction (being a part of PUBLIC justice administered by the baron). Along with the jurisdiction went certain regalia minora (like salmon fishing). In the case of a palatine lordship the grant included the regalia majora. In fact, the count palatine exercised the full powers of the crown, the jura regalia (minora and majora), within the palatinate 'as fully as the king in his palace' (1 Bl. Comm. 117). The present jura regalia of the duchy include bona vacantia. This is not a property right (i.e. attached to the land), as stated in the judgment, but part of the jura regalia (crown rights) with are attached to the barony (county palatine) part of the 'lands and barony'. How can a person or body which exercises certain powers of the crown not be a public body? The Duchy of Lancaster is not a personal peerage, it is a feudal or territorial barony (originally held by knight's service but held in socage since the 1660 Act) and, as such, does not merge with the crown and retains its separate identity even if held by the monarch.

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