Byrne and Davis table SLAPP-back Amendments 

A joint statement from Rt Hon Liam BYRNE MP and Rt Hon David DAVIS MP

 

Liam Byrne and David Davis have tabled joint amendments to the Economic Crime Bill designed to stop oligarchs using the English court system to silence journalists pursuing the truth. 

 

The amendments follow their lawfare debate in Parliament last month, and the victories of journalists Tom Burgis and Catherine Belton in the High Court.  

 

In a joint statement Byrne and Davis said:

 

"Following our lawfare debate in the House of Commons on Thursday 20 January 2022, we're determined to build a cross-party coalition to ensure the reforms before Parliament designed to expunge from London the problem of dirty money, ensure that oligarchs of any nation can no longer use the English legal system against ordinary citizens, journalists and civil servants to silence free speech."

 

Amendment Text

 

Amendments No 37 and 38 

 

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-02/0262/amend/economic_rm_cwh_0303.pdf

 

Clause 50, page 32, line 9, at end add—

“(2) The Secretary of State shall establish an inquiry into the use of legal intimidation and strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) to prevent such actions from being used to prevent economic crime from being uncovered.”

 

Clause 21, page 13, line 1, leave out from beginning to end of line 2 and insert—

 

“(3) No cause of action in civil proceedings shall lie against a person in respect of the making of a protected disclosure as defined in section 1 of the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 in relation to information from the register.

 

(3A) In a prosecution of a person for any offence prohibiting or restricting the disclosure of information it is a defence for that person to show that, at the time of the alleged offence, the disclosure was, or was reasonably believed by the person to be, a protected disclosure.”