Judges dismiss wealthy foreigners’ libel cases

Daily Telegraph

Lawyers have proclaimed the “death knell” of libel tourism after High Court judges threw out two cases brought by wealthy foreigners concerning claims published abroad.

London has been named “the libel capital of the world” due to the number of claims brought by foreign nationals complaining about allegations in non-British publications that have been viewed just a handful of times in the UK.

But two rulings have led lawyers to suggest that judges are seeking to curb such a use of the English courts.

One of the libel claims was brought by a Serbian tobacco distributor, Stanko Subotic. He brought the case over allegations published outside the UK and written in Serbian and Montenegrin, which suggested that he was a criminal mastermind linked to murder.

Mr Justice Dingemans threw out the case, describing the two-year libel claim as an “abuse of process”.
Mr Justice Dingemans rejected Mr Subotic’s claim because the articles had been read by very few people in the UK, adding that it “really has nothing to do with his reputation in England and Wales and everything to do with his reputation in the Balkans”.

The judge said that dismissing a libel case as an abuse of process was a “draconian” step used only in exceptional circumstances. However, he said that allowing the case to proceed risked “disproportionate and unnecessary interference with freedom of expression”.

Mr Subotic was attempting to use London’s High Court to sue Ratko Knezevic, a former Montenegrin trade official, over allegations that appeared in five Serbian or Montenegrin-language publications. Hard copies were not officially circulated in England and Wales.

The second libel action was brought by Pavel Karpov, a retired Moscow policeman, against Bill Browder, a British-based businessman, for saying he was complicit in the “torture and murder” of Sergei Magnitsky, an anti-corruption whistleblower. The disputed claims were made on a Russian website and in Russian television interviews.

Mr Justice Simon ruled that Mr Karpov could not proceed with his action because he does not have strong links to the UK.

“His connection with this country is exiguous and, therefore, there is a degree of artificiality about his seeking to protect his reputation in this country,” he said.

David Price QC, the solicitor-advocate for Mr Knezevic, said the two judgments heralded the end of libel tourism.

He said: “Although each case was decided on its own facts they do reflect the way that the wind is blowing which is against English courts determining massive cases that have little or nothing to do with England.

“Judges are emphasising that claimants must show significant damage to their reputation in England.
“It does mark the end of libel tourism, which means people picking England because of our laws and procedure and not because the case has any real connection with England,” he said.
The Coalition this year passed the Defamation Act, which introduces a tougher test before claims involving those with little connection to this country can be brought before UK courts. займ срочно без отказов и проверок unshaven girls female wrestling https://zp-pdl.com/best-payday-loans.php https://zp-pdl.com payday loan

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