The Spectator

Letters | 12 December 2012

Courts to be proud of

Sir: Nick Cohen’s article (‘Export-only justice’, 8 December) might leave the reader with the impression that the use of the High Court in London by overseas litigants is a) novel and b) detrimental to the taxpayer. I do not believe either to be the case. Law students have long had drummed into them the fact that in a large number of cases (commercial court cases in particular), it is the norm for neither party to be domiciled in the UK, and I have yet to be informed — when raising inquiry of the listing office — that litigation timescales are lengthening by dint of an influx of foreign litigants. Indeed, my sense is quite the opposite: timescales are shortening as the system becomes more efficient. Surely the fact that the commercial world chooses English law to govern its contracts, and English courts to resolve its disputes is something to be proud of, rather than annoyed about.
Ian Lupson (solicitor)
London EC4

Muted in Moscow

Sir: Christopher Andrew in his article ‘The edge of destruction’ (1 December) writes about the Cuban Missile Crisis and how ordinary Americans and Britons braced themselves for the possibility of a thermonuclear war. Not so in Moscow. I was there as a Reuters correspondent and I can assure him that ordinary Russians had no idea of what was happening. Soviet newspapers, television and radio, which were controlled by censorship, totally ignored the crisis until the very end when Moscow radio published Khrushchev’s letters to Kennedy. Only then may Russians have guessed that there was a crisis.

Christopher Andrew also writes about Oleg Penkovsky, whom I met at a party for western businessmen in the National Hotel, and how he passed on nuclear intelligence to the CIA at the American embassy.

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