Peers want law firms to face £250m SLAPPs
Individual solicitors would have to pay up to £50m for writing a threatening letter
Urgent action is needed to slap down SLAPPs, a parliamentary committee told the government yesterday. We don’t have time to wait for legislation. The regulator’s fining powers should be 10,000 times higher.
Is the House of Lords communications and digital committee right? And what are SLAPPs anyway?
The acronym can be traced back to a book published by two US academics as long ago as 1996. It’s meant to stand for Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. But that’s far too vague to serve as a definition. When does a claim by one person against another qualify as “strategic”? What’s meant by public participation? Little wonder there’s no sign yet of the government’s promised legislation.
Maybe SLAPPs are like elephants: you recognise them when you see them. Dan Neidle had no doubt that there was a SLAPP in the room when solicitors acting for Nadim Zahawi, then chancellor of the exchequer, got in touch with him last summer.
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to A Lawyer Writes to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.