Libel law reform to rein-in oligarchs

Dominic Raab, the Justice Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, yesterday confirmed work was under way on the plan. 

He spoke following a cross-party move by Labour MP Liam Byrne and Conservative MP David Davis who are poised to table an amendment to the Economic Crime Bill. It would give courts the power to strike out so-called Slapps – strategic lawsuits against public participation – which have been used to stifle critics.

Mr Raab said: “I’ve already made clear we’re going to reform our libel laws. I’m going to bring forward proposals to do so.

“What we’ve seen – and we’ve seen it in relation to journalists, academics, authors – the kleptocrats and those who are linked to Putin and deep pockets come to this country, use our jurisdiction to sue those who are shining light on corruption or the excesses of the Putin regime. That cannot be right.”

Specifically on the proposals, he added: “They could deal with anything from allocation of costs, so you don’t find all those on relatively modest salaries against the might of an oligarchy with very deep pockets. And basically find themselves bankrupted.”

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