Clause 2 - Meaning of “SLAPP” claim

Part of Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:45 am on 8 May 2024.

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Photo of Julie Elliott Julie Elliott Labour, Sunderland Central 9:45, 8 May 2024

With this it will be convenient to discuss the following:

Amendment 11, in clause 2, page 2, leave out lines 7 to 18 and insert—

“(a) the information that is or would be disclosed by the defendant relates to a matter of public interest;

(b) the claimant’s behaviour in relation to the matters complained of in the claim is such that it is reasonable to conclude that the behaviour has, or is intended to have, the effect of restraining the defendant’s exercise of the right to freedom of speech; and

(c) any of the behaviour of the claimant, including leading up to or alongside the claim, in relation to the matters complained of in the claim is such that it is reasonable to conclude that the behaviour is intended to cause the defendant any other harm or inconvenience beyond that ordinarily encountered in the course of properly conducted litigation.

(1A) In subsection (1)(c) the reference to ‘harm’ includes, but is not limited to, a reference to any of the following—

(a) expense,

(b) alarm,

(c) harassment or distress.”

Amendment 2, in clause 2, page 2, line 8, after “claim” insert

“is such that it is reasonable to conclude that the behaviour”.

This amendment ensures that the condition in subsection (1)(a) is met if the court determines that it is reasonable to conclude that the claimant’s behaviour has or is intended to have the effect in question.

Amendment 3, in clause 2, page 2, line 9, after “exercise” insert

“by that disclosure or potential disclosure”.

See the explanatory statement for amendment 1.

Amendment 4, in clause 2, page 2, line 10, leave out from beginning to “and” in line 11.

See the explanatory statement for amendment 1.

Amendment 5, in clause 2, page 2, line 13, after “claim” insert

“is such that it is reasonable to conclude that the behaviour”.

This amendment ensures that the condition in subsection (1)(c) is met if the court determines that it is reasonable to conclude that the claimant’s behaviour is intended to have the specified effect.

Amendment 6, in clause 2, page 2, line 14, leave out sub-paragraphs (i) to (iii) and insert “any harm or inconvenience”.

This amendment and amendment 7 restate sub-paragraphs (i) to (iii) for the purpose of clarifying the condition in subsection (1)(c).

Amendment 7, in clause 2, page 2, line 18, at end insert—

“(1A) In subsection (1)(c) the reference to “harm” includes (but is not limited to) a reference to any of the following—

(a) expense;

(b) harassment;

(c) alarm;

(d) distress.”

See the explanatory statement for amendment 6.

Amendment 8, in clause 2, page 2, line 20, leave out “or (b)”.

See the explanatory statement for amendment 1.

Amendment 9, in clause 2, page 2, line 23, leave out “(1)(b)” and insert “(1)(aa)”.

See the explanatory statement for amendment 1.

Amendment 10, in clause 2, page 2, line 23, leave out from second “the” to end of line 24 and insert

“matters that are of ‘public interest’ include (but are not limited to) the following—”.

This amendment rephrases the opening words of subsection (3) so as to make it explicit that matters of “public interest” are not limited to the specified matters.

Amendment 12, in clause 2, page 2, at end of line 39 insert—

“(ba) the use of dilatory strategies, excessive disclosure requests, disproportionate or unreasonable pre-action threats, or any refusal without reasonable excuse to resolve the claim through alternative dispute resolution;

(bb) the choice of jurisdiction;

(bc) the use of public relations campaigns to bully, discredit or intimidate the defendant;”.

This amendment sets out a wider context of SLAPPs.

Clause stand part.

Clauses 3 and 4 stand part.