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This study of the phenomenon of political libels looks behind the headlines and examines the political and legal problems which surround this little understood but controversial area of English law.
In this 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 19th century, whose significance has been downplayed by lawyers in subsequent years.