Tuesday, June 02, 2009

eg. Libel Tourism

The big problem in the common law and natural law tradition is that courts tend to diverge from each other on interpretations of law. When this happens the poor and disenfranchised are left dealing with the vagaries of their local law, while the rich, powerful and connected are able to shop for an empathetic jurisdiction.

Libel Tourism is a case in point. The hard nosed American judicial system with its antiquated Constitution sides with writers and newspapers. The open minded evolving British Court system empathizes with the subjects of reports and sides with the plaintiff in libel cases.*

The rich and powerful have discovered of late that, with a little jurisdiction shopping, they can get a court packed with empathy judges and they can sue the pants off all those horrible writers and newspapers that criticize their actions.

Jurisdiction shopping is not a new problem. Common law courts have always had the problem that different people seem to have different common sense.

The Constitution created a hierarchical system of courts with a Supreme Court at the top to help courts from becoming too disparate.

The video below features Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, who does not take Libel Tourism lightly.

*How did you like my use of purr words and snarl words? "Empathy" is one of the ultimate purr words. "Conservative" is the mother of all snarl words. The press is often able to win elections for The Party simply by associating purr words with all the open-minded empathetic Democrats and snarl words for the closed minded conservative Republicans.

NOTE, this system with local courts and a hierarchy of appeals courts allows for a great deal of empathy at the local level, but reduces problems with different jurisdictions developing radically different interpretations of the law as we see in international laws.

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