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Political Libels

A Comparative Study

By: Ian Loveland
Media of Political Libels
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Published: 08-06-2000
Format: Hardback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 224
ISBN: 9781841131153
Imprint: Hart Publishing
Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
RRP: £65.00
Online price : £58.50
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Loren Epson

About Political Libels

The political libel is as old as politics itself. The politician,seeking redress in the courts for an allegedly libellous publication, uses the English law of libel to attempt to remove the stain from his character. Wielding the 'sword of truth' he does battle with the media, often with huge attendant publicity, and at great risk to his reputation should he fail in his quest. At the same time he stands to pocket a substantial sum in damages if he can show the libel to have been committed.

In this, the first modern study of the phenomenon of political libels, the author delves behind the headlines and looks at the political and legal problems which surround this little understood but controversial area of English law. In this highly readable and engaging work the author surveys the ancient and modern history of the political libel laws, and argues that the English law of libel has in the main been too jealous of defending the reputations of politicians and insufficiently alert to the legitimate interest of the public. A strong case is made for reforming the law substantially, a case which rests both on the experience of other countries (notably the USA), and also on a re-examination of a handful of English cases dating from the mid-to-late nineteenth century whose significance has been downplayed by lawyers in subsequent years.

Table Of Contents

1 Introduction
2 The Common Law and Political Libels in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Britain
3 American Perspectives on Political Libels in the Early Democratic Era
4 The English Common Law in the Early Years of the Modern Democratic Era
5 Sullivan v. The New York Times
6 The Sullivan Principle in 'English' Law
7 English Law - the First Phase of Reform
8 Sullivan v. The New York Times in Australia
9 English Law - the Second Phase of Reform?
10 Conclusion


“This is a valuable and interesting monograph on an aspect of defamation law which is of great topical interest.” –  Geoffrey Bindman, New Law Journal

“Not only lawyers and journalists but politicians would also find Loveland's thorough analysis of the law, derived from cases of political libel, instructive.” –  A. G. Noorani, Economic and Political Weekly

“…stimulating and engaging narrative. His tour and commentary is consistently interesting…It deserves attention.” –  Patrick Milmo QC, International and Comparative Law Quarterly October 2001

“As one would expect, Political Libels is a well structured work. The argument is clearly and logically developed in easily comprehensible stages. The comparative analysis is skilfully interwoven within the fabric of the book, and the mode of expression is clear and sharp. Overall, Professor Ian Loveland has advanced an intensely readable and erudite case for reform of the English law of political libels. His book makes a valuable and stimulating contribution to scholarship in this area, and is well deserving of a place on the bookshelves of all defamation aficionados.” –  Michael Gillooly, Media and Arts Law Review

“Political Libels fills a large gap in the libel literature that for too long has been predominantly descriptive the book remains a welcomed contribution to our understanding of a controversial topic of English law.” –  Sharon Lockyer, Loughborough University, Political Studies

“Professor Ian Loveland is well known for his extensive writing on the use of the law of defamation by public figures to protect their reputations....interesting book......thought-provoking” –  David Feldman, Public Law

“Ian Loveland has produced a significant comparative analysis of defamation doctrine…” –  Andrew T. Kenyon, Melbourne University Law Review

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