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"Libel tourism" and conflict of laws

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This article considers the problem of ‘libel tourism’ (forum shopping in transnational libel cases) from the point of view of English and EU law (both relevant in certain situations). If proceedings are brought in a forum having no real connection with the case, and if the lex fori is applied, free speech in other countries could be undermined. This is particularly a problem where the case is brought in England, because of the pro-claimant slant of English libel law. The article notes when English conflicts law is applicable and when EU conflicts law is applicable, and explains the English and EU law regarding choice of law, jurisdiction and forum non conveniens in order to assess whether there is a genuine problem. It concludes that there is, particularly with regard to the Internet. Possible solutions are suggested.

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