Partner Gideon Benaim argues that the Government must ensure that the right to reputation is preserved, in light of English and Welsh judges' expected new power to dismiss 'SLAPPs' related to economic crime.
"When even the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe estimate that there were 14 SLAPPs in 2021, one must first question whether the law needs to be changed at all for such a small number of alleged cases, and whether these 'SLAPPs' are all properly identified as being such anyhow.
"What is good to see is that the Government is limiting the new legislation to matters of ‘economic crime’ only, and that it has defined what an ‘economic crime SLAPP’ is, although strangely the words ‘abuse of process’ do not appear in it.
"It is vital that the Government carefully balances the various competing rights involved, including the right to reputation, which is too often forgotten. The courts already have ample tools available to them to dispose of abusive claims, and I remain of the view that the issue of so-called SLAPPs has been blown out of proportion."