1/20/2011

"Libel tourism": the British provocation and the American response

London has been called the "libel capital" of the world and a "libel tourism" destination. I mentioned this last month, as an introduction to comments about a recent decision of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom that chips away at the advantages of filing defamation suits in London, and a 2010 statute passed by Congress designed to negate that advantage entirely. Now, for those who'd like to read a more in-depth analysis, Indiana University law professor Andrew Klein has published a law review article titled Some Thoughts on Libel Tourism. He explains that:
. . . "libel tourism" [is] a phrase used to describe cases where plaintiffs sue for defamation in a foreign jurisdiction and then seek to enforce judgments in the U.S., where the outcome might have been different because of protections for speech embodied in the United States Constitution. A number of commentators have discussed libel tourism at length, and this paper does not provide a treatise on the topic. Rather, it reviews recent reactions from legislators, courts, and commentators, and then offer some thoughts about whether these reactions appropriately balance concerns of comity and free speech. Ultimately, the essay concludes that U.S. attempts to address the issue of libel tourism have been quite broad, and suggests a more cautious approach that would better contribute to maintaining America’s role as a leader in the evolving world of tort law.