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Solicitors Regulation Authority investigates 40 suspected ‘SLAPPs’

The SRA is investigating 40 suspected cases of ‘SLAPPs’ – Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation – brought to its attention since mid-2022, its Chief Executive Paul Philip confirmed last Tuesday. Philip explained that the SRA only became aware of SLAPPs in early 2022, around the time of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is therefore the first time that the SRA has investigated SLAPPs specifically, as distinct from abusive litigation practices generally. Each investigation runs roughly on a 9 to 10 months timeline and the SRA intends to conclude the first few by the middle of this year. Philip also confirmed that the SRA are working on a thematic review of SLAPPs with a targeted sample of 25 firms. Results from this review should be published in the next few weeks.

The SRA’s investigation and thematic review come at a time of heightened scrutiny, following the war in Ukraine, over Russian oligarchs’ use of litigation to shut down public criticism of their affairs. The Government proposed anti-SLAPPs legislation last year (as to which, see our previous article here). With the exception of a private member’s bill, there has been no draft legislation since.


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