Legal blow for widow of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko who risks bankruptcy by continuing her battle for a public inquiry


Marina Litvinenko’s fight for answers over the suspicious death of her husband, Alexander, has suffered another defeat after judges refused to protect her from facing crippling costs if she loses her legal battle for a public inquiry.

The widow of the former KGB spy could risk bankruptcy by continuing her battle, following the refusal by three High Court judges in London to make a “protected costs” order.

The cost of her judicial review application is likely to be around £40,000, which her barrister, Ben Emerson QC, said amounted to almost “everything she has in terms of assets she can access”.

Coroner Sir Robert Owen called for an inquiry into Mr Litvinenko’s 2006 death from polonium-210 poisoning after the former spy drank tea with two Russian men at a London hotel, but Theresa May, the Home Secretary, rejected this as it could harm relations with Russia.

This morning the judges will explain why they have refused to protect Mrs Litvinenko from incurring costs in her attempt to overturn Ms May’s decision.