LETTER: Litigation kills spirit of adventure

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Sir: Ben Smolden may feel fulfilled ("Rugby verdict changes sporting life", 20 April) but should the rest of us - while commiserating with his tragic injury - be so happy? His act of suing the referee was another episode in the ever increasing serial of "damages" being awarded against someone who was simply doing his or her job.

These are some of my experiences: in the primary school where I am a governor the children cannot use eggs in cookery classes in case a child becomes ill and a parent sues. I cannot organise a traditional raft race in a village carnival/regatta because of the huge premium for public liability cover. My council cannot build an adventure playground because the peril is too great. A friend who has been a scout leader for over 30 years will no longer take scouts from Salcombe to Dartmouth in a whaler for their summer camp as he used to every year. And now I cannot organise a kick around on the village green because the financial security of my family would be at risk if someone sued me.

If individuals or institutions wilfully provide unsafe practices or equipment, they should be indicted, but this litigious culture we seem to be inheriting from the Americans will destroy the British tradition of enterprise, adventure, tolerance, innovation, and care for others.

Roger Anstey

Kingsbridge, Devon