Libel tourism is a ‘myth’ spread by parties unhappy at the outcome of cases, Britain’s best-known media judge has claimed.

Mr Justice Eady said it was a ‘myth’ that foreign nationals with no connection to Britain were allowed to take unfair advantage of the UK’s libel laws.

He said: ‘That would be an abuse of process. Claimants must always have a connection, like a business interest or residency. Or they must be EU nationals, who are entitled to a hearing in our courts. The facts have been seriously misrepresented. People get hot under the collar when they don’t get the ruling they want.’

Speaking at the launch of City University’s new Centre for Law, Justice & Journalism last week, Eady said libel judgments hinge on balancing one individual’s human rights against another’s. There is no ‘hierarchy of rights’, he said, which created ‘great potential for disagreement’.