The SLAPP Bill's unintended consequences

February 26, 2024
Stack of newspapers

Associate Hugo Mason discusses the Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation Bill and how it may inadvertently stifle ordinary individuals with legitimate defamation claims.

"Although there is no doubt that the bill is well-intentioned, it is deeply flawed.

“It will affect ordinary people with valid defamation claims more than it will affect the super-rich and powerful wrongdoers that it is supposed to be targeting. The government is seemingly only hearing advice from one side of the debate, and is so focused on stamping out a perceived problem in a minority of cases that they are ignoring the impact this bill will have on the vast majority of well-intentioned claimants.

“If the bill is supposed to protect journalism relating to matters of significant public interest from abuse by a handful of super-rich wrongdoers, then that needs to be clearer in the drafting. At the moment any claim about any publication could be deemed a SLAPP. The bill effectively re-writes the law on defamation, which is something the government agreed there was no need to do.”

Hugo's comments were published in The Law Society Gazette, 23 February 2024.

Hugo MasonHugo Mason
Hugo Mason
Hugo Mason

News & Insights