British Libel Law Chills U.S. Scholars' Speech, but Change Is Afoot

British Libel Law Chills U.S. Scholars' Speech, but Change Is Afoot 1

Durham University

Gavin Phillipson, a British law professor, says British law places a high value on preserving reputations. Such a value figured in a libel judgment against the American scholar who wrote the book Funding Evil.

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close British Libel Law Chills U.S. Scholars' Speech, but Change Is Afoot 1

Durham University

Gavin Phillipson, a British law professor, says British law places a high value on preserving reputations. Such a value figured in a libel judgment against the American scholar who wrote the book Funding Evil.

Big Ben, the Tower of London, the Tate Modern: London's landmarks keep it popular with cultural tourists. But the city has a reputation for attracting less welcome visitors as well: libel tourists, eager to take advantage of British laws that favor plaintiffs in libel actions more than American laws do.

A few highly publicized cases involve American scholars and their publishers. Now some of those publishers have stepped up their efforts to obtain legal protections in the United