English libel law: Overdue reforms may be on the way

Most tourists come to Britain for the palaces, the pubs and the history. But a few come to take advantage of England’s ferociously claimant-friendly libel laws (Scotland’s are different). A string of cases in which plaintiffs with tenuous links to England have taken advantage of these rules has fuelled worries about legal “forum shopping”.Belatedly, politicians are taking notice. On December 27th Jack Straw, the justice secretary, said that a hurriedly assembled (but as yet unnamed) panel of lawyers, academics and newspaper editors will meet to ponder improvements, with a plan for reform due by March.

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