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20 Nov 2017

Centre for Environmental Rights

CER attorneys raise Constitutional defence in SLAPP suit, and experts join as friends of the court

The defendants in the defamation suit brought by a subsidiary of Australian mining company Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC), including two CER attorneys, have raised Constitutional arguments in response to the defamation claims.

The University of Cape Town (UCT) and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) at the University of the Witwatersrand have intervened in the matter as amicus curiae. UCT and CALS will address the court on issues of academic freedom, and CALS will provide further expertise on the nature and effect of ”Strategic Litigation against Public Participation”...

...[T]wo Centre for Environmental Rights’ (CER) attorneys and a local community activist from Lutzville have been sued for defamation by MRC subsidiary Mineral Sands Resources (MSR) 

...The CER maintains that litigation of this nature is intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the management and costs of a legal defence until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

...The intervention by UCT and CALS illustrates the significance of the threats to the Constitutional rights of environmental activists, threats which are becoming more and more common.