The U.K. and Libel Tourism

by Robert VerBruggen

I’ve made the point several times on this blog that “libel tourism” — the threat that someone who doesn’t like what you write will sue you in a country with weak free-speech protections and win — is not something Americans should be worried about. It is standard practice for American courts to refuse to enforce foreign libel judgments that conflict with the First Amendment, and other countries should be free to find anyone guilty of libel they want to. If you’re found guilty of libel on ridiculous grounds in another country and you don’t way to pay, don’t go there, and you’ll be fine.

But I should note a positive development: The U.K. seems likely to tighten up its libel standards.

UPDATE: I should note another development that occurred since I last wrote about this topic — back in 2010, the SPEECH Act made it official policy, not just standard practice, for U.S. courts to refuse to enforce foreign libel judgments that do not comport with the First Amendment.

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