University of Miamai International and Comparative Law Review
England and the United States share a common legal tradition that has been shaped by principles dating back at least 800 years to the time of the Magna Carta. Even after the American colonies declared their independence from England in 1776, English law was still widely followed in the new nation unless it was inconsistent with American institutions or new ideas. As late as 1964, American libel law was essentially "identical" to English libel law. This was true, in part, because until the mid-twentieth century, defamation law in both countries was defined "mainly by the common law and decisions of the courts," rather than by statutes, American constitutional principles, or the United Kingdom's recognition of freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). However, during the past half century, the paths of England and the United States have significantly diverged in the field of defamation.
Vincent R. Johnson, Comparative Defamation Law: England and the United States, 24 U. Miami Int'l & Comp. L. Rev. 1 (2016).