The Bar Council has welcomed a Ministry of Justice package of measures to address Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), in which legal action is brought to intimidate journalists, authors, and campaigners.

Earlier this year the Bar Council submitted detailed evidence to the MoJ’s call for evidence. This followed a Bar Council submission to the EU Commission in January.

Commenting, Mark Fenhalls QC, Chair of the Bar Council, said:

“Action on SLAPPs is timely and welcome to curb the abuse of court proceedings by those with the power and wealth to use the justice system to intimidate others.

“This type of case is not brought to ‘win’, but rather to wear out and deter the defendant through the sheer weight and cost of litigation.

“The introduction of a new three-part test will allow for the consideration of early dismissal, and a cost protection regime will help those who are involved in these cases.

“Tackling the myriad complex challenges posed by SLAPPs will require sensitive law and policy making, as well as considering the international nature of these cases. Today’s announcement is a positive step forward and we look forward to engaging in the detail as new legislation progresses.”