- More on Venezuela suit in U.S. against Dolar Today, publication that reports black market exchange rates [WSJ, earlier]
- Sehr vorsichtig: “nearly half of all Germans are afraid to voice their opinion about the refugee crisis” [Malte Lehming, National Interest via Andrew Stuttaford]
- Professor in Norway calls for “statutory ban on climate denialism.” [Steven T. Corneliussen/Physics Today, background]
- Scottish newspaper The National to endorse criminalizing “hate speech against women” [@ScotNational] Feminist groups in Scotland and Australia call for legal action to prevent meetups of followers of “pick-up artist” and general-purpose boor Dariush Valizadeh [Sydney Morning Herald]
- Debate on whether Donald Trump should be allowed to enter Great Britain because he sounds too much like a Kipper “exposes the hypocrisy of those who seem the most indignant” [Ian O’Doherty] Maryam Namazie case too: “On both sides of the Atlantic, there has been a noticeable shift toward a more censorious culture.” [Kenan Malik] Make a point of defending free expression and you’ll wind up cozy with odd ducks “simply because it’s the right thing to do” [Ian O’Doherty]
- On anniversary of Charlie Hebdo massacre, two more pieces serve to correct the Garry Trudeau view of the French magazine [Robert McLiam Wilson, Adam Gopnik]
- Toronto man found not guilty in widely watched Twitter harassment trial [National Post, earlier]
- Overseas press excoriates new FATCA tax-Americans’-foreign-earnings law; some foreign banks now turn away American customers [Dan Mitchell, Cato, Reason] “The Fatca story is really kind of insane.” [Caplin & Drysdale’s H. David Rosenbloom, NYT via TaxProf] Will Congress back down? [Peter Spiro/OJ, more]
- Important new book from James Maxeiner (University of Baltimore) and co-authors Gyooho Lee and Armin Weber on what the U.S. can learn from legal procedure overseas: “Failures of American Civil Justice in International Perspective” [TortsProf]
- Don’t do it: British administration mulls further move away from loser-pays rule in search of — what exactly, a yet more Americanized litigation culture? [Guardian, Law Society]
- Apparently in Norway it’s possible to lose one’s kids by feeding them by hand [Shikha Dalmia, Reason]
- Financial transaction tax? Ask the Swedes how that worked out [Mike “Mish” Shedlock, Business Insider]
- Notes from conference on globalization of class actions [Karlsgodt] Related: Adam Zimmerman;
- “Another conviction in Europe for insulting religion” [Volokh; Polish pop star] Campus secularists’ speech under fire in the U.K. as “Jesus and Mo” controversy spreads to LSE [Popehat] British speech prosecution of soccer star [Suneal Bedi and William Marra, NRO]
It’s your fault for letting me go: “A man who wildly stabbed fellow passengers on board an Oslo tram three years ago is now seeking compensation from the state. He claims he never should have been released from psychiatric care just days before he went amok, and his victim’s own mother agrees.” (Nina Berglund, Aftenposten, Aug. 24).
…could soon be banned in Norway under pending animal welfare regulations. (“May ban caged birds”, Aftenposten, Jun. 13).
The Norway Supreme Court has ruled that Conoco Phillips owes two workers about $40,000 each for firing them for looking at Internet porn on the job. (Jonathan Tisdall, “Final porn decision”, Aftenposten English, Apr. 22).
The Aftenposten story has been widely repeated on the web, but it’s worth noting that the supposed decision has not yet been catalogued on the English version of the Norges Høyesterett website, though that site is only up to date to March 31. That said, this page looks suspiciously like the decision in question, though my Norwegian language skills are decidedly limited. I further note that it is utterly charming that Norway is sufficiently non-litigious otherwise that its Supreme Court apparently has the time to regularly decide appeals of speeding tickets. (& letter to the editor, Jul. 13).
The Norwegian Supreme Court has held that tobacco companies are not responsible for a smoker’s death, because by 1964, smokers had widespread knowledge of the risks of smoking and could have chosen to quit. (Nina Berglund, “Family loses fight against tobacco firm”, Aftenposten, Oct. 31; Doug Mellgren, “Smoker’s lawsuit is rejected in Norway”, AP, Oct. 31). Lest you fear that Norway is a complete oasis of common sense, another Norwegian court has ordered the state to purchase an automobile for a 4’2″ individual who claims to have anxiety attacks at the thought of riding a bus. (Kaare M. Hansen and Nina Berglund, “State ordered to buy car for short man”, Aftenposten, Nov. 11).
“Francine Parrington lost her arm when she crashed into a tree while driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.118 but says it wasn’t her fault and is suing the hotel for serving her too many drinks. … She crashed into exactly the same tree a year before and claims her drinking habits were caused by her marital difficulties with a straying husband.” (Angela Kamper, “Drink-driver sues the hotel”, Jul. 30)). They do seem to get a lot of these cases down in Oz, don’t they? See, for example, the cases described in this space May 12. (Update Dec. 21: she loses case)
P.S. In Oslo, Norway, a court has just thrown out a man’s conviction on charges of drunken driving on the grounds that he had been much too drunk at the time to give proper consent for the police to interrogate him; the resulting confession had provided the basis for the conviction (“Drunk driver acquitted for drunkenness”, Aftenposten, Jul. 30)(via James Taranto’s Best of the Web, OpinionJournal, Jul. 30).
According to EUObserver.com, “Brussels is said to be preparing new legislation to monitor sex discrimination outside the workplace. The proposal could lead to a ban on programmes and advertisements that stereotype women or men.” The idea is to ban “images of men and women affecting human dignity and decency”. At the same time, “safeguards on freedom of expression are thought to be included” — very comforting. In the spring of 2002 it was reported that Norway’s Ombudsman for Gender Equality, whose duties include monitoring sexism in toy ads, was proposing to ban a particular toy ad which referred to boys as “tough”. More: Daily Telegraph.
The following essay was written circa 1999 by our editor and formerly appeared on the site’s topical page on loser-pays.
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America differs from all other Western democracies (indeed, from virtually all nations of any sort) in its refusal to recognize the principle that the losing side in litigation should contribute toward “making whole” its prevailing opponent. It’s long past time this country joined the world in adopting that principle; unfortunately, any steps toward doing so must contend with deeply entrenched resistance from the organized bar, which likes the system the way it is.
Overlawyered.com‘s editor wrote an account in Reason, June 1995, aimed at explaining how loser-pays works in practice and dispelling some of the more common misconceptions about the device. He also testified before Congress when the issue came up that year as part of the “Contract with America”. Not online, unfortunately, are most of the relevant sections from The Litigation Explosion, which argues at length for the loser-pays idea, especially chapter 15, “Strict Liability for Lawyering”.