Arnold Schwarzenegger gets tough over libel tourists to the UK
by Mail Foreign Service
The state of California yesterday banned libel tourism in an effort to resist the influence of British judges.
Its governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law which will allow its courts to refuse to enforce libel judgments handed down in London.
He acted following alarm in the U.S. that powerful individuals use British courts to silence criticism and prevent investigation of their activities around the world.
California legislators said their courts must have power to block libel judgments from Britain which 'has become a jurisdictional Mecca for the rich and famous'.
And in a verdict deeply embarrassing for the British government, they said the libel tourism law must be passed to 'pressure foreign jurisdictions like Britain to change its laws to place greater protections on free speech'.
The California law means that courts in all the most important U.S. cities now have laws to shield Americans from damages and gagging writs ordered in the High Court in London.
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