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21 Jul 2022

Haroon Siddique, The Guardian

UK: Government announces new powers for courts to dismiss SLAPPs


"English courts get new powers to dismiss Slapp cases against reporters", 20 July 2022

Courts in England and Wales are to be granted new powers to dismiss lawsuits employed by wealthy claimants to stifle free speech, the government has said. The justice secretary, Dominic Raab, announced proposals on Wednesday for a three-stage test to tackle at an early stage intimidatory legal actions against reporters and publishers, known as strategic lawsuits against public participation, or Slapps...

The government said the proposed test would first assess if the case is against journalistic activity that is in the public interest, such as investigating financial misconduct by a company or individual. It would then examine if there is evidence of abuse of process, such as whether the claimant has sent a barrage of highly aggressive letters on a trivial matter. Third, it would consider whether the case has a realistic prospect of success. Anyone subject to a suspected Slapp would be able to apply the court to have it considered for early dismissal...

The government said it would set out the level of cost caps and design of the scheme in due course and look further into the case for defamation law reform.

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