Britain vows to prevent Russia’s oligarchy from abusing British courts and silencing critics

The British government has announced amendments to the Defamation Act to prevent Russian oligarchy from abusing British courts and silencing critics.

In a statement, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “atrophy” of the “new kind of law” used by the oligarchy and ultra-rich people who can afford to take legal action against journalists trying to expose fraud. I promised to work on the “effect”. ..

The Ministry of Justice said it was “notified by the government” as wealthy “corrupted elites” and powerful companies have announced plans to accelerate changes to the rules regarding strategic proceedings (SLAPP) for so-called public participation. ..

The move follows the news that the High Court has dismissed the defamation allegations filed by Kazakh’s mining giant Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) against Financial Times journalist Tom Burgis.

Introducing the proposal at the House of Commons on Thursday, Justice Minister Dominic Raab urged all MPs to accept the “opportunity” to “put a president.” [Vladimir] I noticed Putin and his companions. “

“We do not allow the courts to be abused to censor those brave enough to sue for corruption. We are exactly there to hold a strong explanation of our free press. To protect.

“We defend freedom of speech, freedom to protect all other freedoms in this country, our reforms further strengthen freedom of speech, bloody people, have dirty money in their bank accounts. Freedom of hiding in the shadows. “

Mr Raab said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in a more urgent need for action.

“The war in Ukraine has highlighted the urgency to tackle recent problems, but nevertheless, we often see the same thief politician using SLAPPS bankrolling Putin’s war machine. To be able to do it, “he said.

The government is considering amending the Defamation Act to strengthen the “public interest defense” that can be used to prevent those who disclose personal information from being sued for the public interest.

Ministers are also considering limiting the costs that claimants can recover in an attempt to thwart people “armed with the high costs of proceedings to curb freedom of speech.”

Defendants may also be required to prove “actual malice” in defamation claims as part of a bid to “prevent false claims.”

In other measures, courts have abandoned allegations that appear to be using such tactics early in the proceedings, imposing a ban called a civil detention order, and people repeatedly file legal objections. You can prevent it from being done.

PA Media contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan