Boris Berezovsky has won a significant first-round victory in his libel case against Russian state-owned broadcaster VGTRK. The broadcaster tried unsuccessfully to persuade the court to decline jurisdiction on the unusual ground that the claim was “non-justiciable”, namely it was prevented, by virtue of Russian legislation, from defending the claim because it could not identify its source, who, it was claimed, was under Russian-State protection. Mr Justice Eady found that the case, the facts of which are highly unusual, and which concerns allegations “at the top end of the scale of gravity”, should be allowed to continue unless there were “cogent and compelling” reasons to justify depriving Mr Berezovsky of the opportunity to challenge the allegations. On the evidence, those reasons had not been made out.

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