The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has issued a warning notice to the 200,000 solicitors it regulates about the use of abusive litigation aimed at silencing legitimate critics
Known as strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), these continue to be of concern for both the SRA and the public. It has therefore produced a warning notice to help solicitors in England and Wales recognise when they are acting inappropriately and report if others might be doing so.
The warning recognises that lawyers can have a legitimate role in encouraging journalists and others to ensure that what is published is legal and accurate, but that proceedings must be pursued properly. As well as reiterating the Government’s three-part test for identifying a SLAPP, the notice also touches on other red flags that firms can use to identify them such as a client requesting the firm targets individuals instead of organisations or that they bring it in a jurisdiction unconnected with the parties or events.
Alongside this, the SRA has issued guidance to help those potentially on the receiving end of such action to recognise common SLAPPs tactics so that they can also report such behaviour if necessary.