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Karyn Harty: 'Why a growing number of 'libel tourists' could be making their way to our shores'

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Centre of justice: The Four Courts in Dublin

Centre of justice: The Four Courts in Dublin

Centre of justice: The Four Courts in Dublin

Earlier this year, Newsbrands Ireland, the group representing many of Ireland's newspaper titles, launched a campaign calling for reform of Ireland's defamation laws, which it said are among the most restrictive in Europe and throughout the English-speaking world. Last month, in a case involving a high-profile divorce, the Supreme Court in the UK reinforced the growing differences in how the UK and Irish courts deal with defamation, by raising the bar for plaintiffs to show that they have suffered "serious harm" as a result of the statement.

This move is likely to lead to an increase in the already growing trend of libel tourism to Ireland, where people choose to sue in Ireland rather than their own home countries where protection of freedom of expression is believed to be stronger. This has gathered pace since 2013 when defamation laws in the UK were reformed to introduce this "serious harm" threshold, which in theory would make it harder to bring a claim.


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