British lawmakers are moving to have the country's libel laws revamped after several U.S. states adopted laws to protect U.S. publishers and other U.S. companies from the enforcement of penalties meted out by British courts following libel prosecutions. Under U.S. libel laws, plaintiffs must prove that a published article is both false and malicious; in Britain, the burden is on the publisher to prove that it is true. The law has enabled American celebrities to file suits against U.S. magazines that have British editions and often win large settlements, whereas their claims would have been tossed out in many American courtrooms. On Tuesday, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee issued a report saying that people with no connection to the U.K. are suing for libel in British courts because their lawyers have advised them that the chances of success are greater there than anywhere else. One of the report's authors said, "The issue of libel tourism has reduced the reputation of the courts in London. ... Some judges are effectively operating a one-man libel industry."

24/02/2010