“Tort tourism”: in-house lawyers will find themselves defending cases in adverse jurisdictions

“Libel law in England is not just expensive and wide-ranging …; it also is one of the most claimant-friendly systems in the world” notes the Economist, Nov. 14, 2009 at 18. Lawsuits with miniscule connections to England are filed there. Somewhat like the Eastern District of Texas, infamous for its friendliness to patent plaintiffs, or the specialized business court of Delaware designed to attract corporate litigants, or the Southern District of New York and its well-oiled courts for bankruptcies and massive reorganizations, jurisdictions around the world might come to vie to attract claimants. Perhaps some already do.

The frequency, cost, and inconvenience of lawsuits will rise if tort missiles are launched from jurisdictions that are the litigation equivalent of tax havens or financial intermediaries, “playgrounds for lawyers sparring on behalf of the powerful.”

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