Wednesday, March 24, 2010

U.K. Proposes Reforms to Curb 'Libel Tourism' Traffic

The Parliament of the United Kingdom, the 'Mot...Image via Wikipedia
The Associated Press reports that Great Britain this week introduced proposed changes to its plaintiff-friendly libel laws that could be heard by the next Parliament convened after this Spring's election.

Suggested changes to the U.K. libel laws include:
  • preventing plaintiffs from suing numerous publications based on the same allegedly defamatory materials
  • establishing statutory public interest defenses to libel claims
  • imposing standards to determine whether just cause exists for foreign claimaints to initiate libel claims in English courts

The government also hopes to tighten restrictions in court rules pertaining to serving defendants in libel suits beyond England and Wales.  Critics blame England's current libel laws (see "TUOL" post 12/11/09) for impeding investigative journalistic efforts and creating a chilling effect on free speech.

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