SLAPP reform will help prevent abuse of justice

Strategic Public Involvement Prosecutions (SLAPPs) are set to be reviewed in a decision hailed by the Law Society of England and Wales, as the UK government seeks to prevent potential abuses of the administration of justice.

“We are pleased to see that the government has considered some of our recommendations to ensure that SLAPPs do not have a chilling effect on freedom of expression or the right to privacy,” said the President of the Law Society, I. Stephanie Boyce.

“It is good to see that the inequality of arms that often exists between plaintiff and defendant – where one side has more financial resources than the other – is going to be resolved. The lower costs would benefit both parties.

“Any changes to the current cost system must be established through careful research and be evidence-based.

“We hope the government will commit to consulting on current civil procedure rules so that existing processes and procedures can be improved to ensure prompt and cost-effective justice for all.

“The new three-part test will also help to ensure that the judiciary provides strong oversight and that spurious cases do not go to court.”

Notes to Editors

The four characteristics of SLAPPs include:

  • the publication of information that would be of public interest
  • exhibits certain behaviors such as abuse of legal process where the primary goal is to harass, intimidate, and financially and psychologically exhaust an opponent through inappropriate means
  • is an unfounded claim; and
  • meets the appropriate jurisdiction test

The Lord Chancellor launched the consultation in March 2022 with the aim of responding to the challenges posed by the increasing use of SLAPPs.

Find out more about the government’s consultation-gag

Read the government’s press release on the response to the gag consultations

Read our response to the consultation in full

About the Law Society

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Press office contacts: Naomi Jeffreys | 020 8049 3928