May 28, 2022
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UK plans action to stop the rich and big firms abusing its courts

UK plans action to stop the rich and big firms abusing its courts

LONDON — Britain mentioned on Thursday it was planning action to forestall the rich and highly effective from abusing its courtroom system to silence journalists and campaigners as a part of measures to goal Russian oligarchs and different corrupt elites. 

The proposals would search to stop rich people or massive companies utilizing “Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation” (SLAPPs) — a menace of prolonged and costly authorized action utilizing libel or privateness legal guidelines to intimidate critics and forestall the publication of sure tales or books. 

The transfer comes after Britain pushed by means of a brand new regulation earlier this month to crack down on “dirty money” flowing by means of London, a part of measures designed to goal these shut to Russian President Vladimir Putin after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 

“The ability of a free press to hold the powerful to account is fundamental to our democracy and as a former journalist I am determined we must never allow criticism to be silenced,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned. 

“For the oligarchs and super-rich who can afford these sky-high costs the threat of legal action has become a new kind of lawfare. We must put a stop to its chilling effect.” 

Measures being thought-about embrace altering libel legal guidelines to strengthen its public curiosity protection, capping the authorized prices claimants might get well or requiring them to show “actual malice.” 

The federal government mentioned it could assess the proof to see how widespread the drawback was earlier than deciding what precise action it could take, and would run a session till Might 19. 

The announcement to sort out the challenge was welcomed by Britain’s Nationwide Union of Journalists, and the Society of Editors, which represents senior figures working in nationwide and native press, radio, and tv. 

“Deployed by powerful individuals and companies in an effort to silence and intimidate critics and deter legitimate public interest journalism, SLAPPs not only have a chilling effect on the public’s right to know but they pose a grave threat to media freedom,” mentioned the Society’s Government Director Daybreak Alford. — Michael Holden/Reuters

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