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SLAPPs Get A Slapping

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SLAPPs get a slapping

It’s freezing outside. And inside. Even flaks are burning newspapers – not out of disgust, but for the heat.

And Christmas still seems a long way off.

But I bring good cheer, and from an unlikely source.

In a note to members, the Solicitors Regulation Authority has stern words.

Its “Warning Notice” records:

“There is public concern – and we are concerned too – that solicitors and law firms are pursuing a type of abusive litigation, known as strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs), on behalf of their clients.”

Abusive litigation, says the SRA! Well, at least they admit it.

Their own words cover it perfectly.

“The key aim of a SLAPP is to prevent publication on matters of public importance, such as academic research, whistleblowing or campaigning or investigative journalism. Claims of defamation or invasion of privacy are the causes of action most associated with SLAPPs, but other causes of action (such as breach of confidence) could also be used for this purpose.”

Now, since the SRA oversees the conduct of 125,000 solicitors and other legal bods at 11,000 firms this seems like a meaningful slap on the use of SLAPPs.

The watchdog is fairly directly saying that its members have been mis-using these powerful devices to protect rich clients in ways that go beyond the original remit of the law.

Behave yourselves, the SRA is saying. Act with honesty, act with integrity.

We’ll believe that when we see it. But this would seem to be rather good news for hacks and flaks.

Hacks should now get fewer threats that might put timid editors off from publishing proper work.

And flaks are needed again in greater numbers to do what they do, instead of rich folk and large corporations just sending the heavies round….

Press release of the day

Only one in ten of us want an office Christmas Party this year, says this from Blackhawk Network.

We’d nearly all much rather receive a gift card for ourselves, or see other evidence that our employer cares for us ahead of a rough winter.

“Rewarding staff in ways that aligns with their needs, particularly during times of financial stress, helps to boost their happiness and motivates them to feel engaged,” we are told.

Stories that will keep rolling

1) Is Frasers going to hit its £500m profit forecast? Does the budget squeeze help it take sales from JD Sports?

2) Is Nick Train turning it around at FGIT? If not, how long has he got?

3) Does Vodafone need a radical shake-up? By who?

4) Is the IEA right that renewables will be the biggest source of energy by 2025?

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