What are SLAPP Suits?

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A supreme court bench recently recorded observations on how courts should decide pre-trial injunctions against media organisations, and the growing use of SLAPP suits “to prevent the public from knowing about or participating in important affairs in the public interest”.

About SLAPP Suits

  • The term ‘SLAPP’, stands for strategic lawsuit against public participation.
  • The concept of a SLAPP lawsuit evolved in the US, where it was observed that certain lawsuits were filed targeting individual or group litigants who voiced their concern over important or considerable social issues in the public arena.
  • The subject matter of the suit would target an act of public participation, such as engaging in an issue of societal or political significance, in the form of journalism, advocacy, whistleblowing, peaceful protests or boycotts, activism, or simply speaking out against abuse of power.
  • As such, winning the lawsuit is not the focus. The plaintiff’s goal is typically accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism.
  • The remedies sought are usually substantial amounts of damages, and generally aggressive or disproportionate to the subject matter of the dispute.
  • SLAPP suits are routinely filed for libel, slander, defamation, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, conspiracy, invasion of privacy, and tortious interference with contract or business relationships.
  • The most common SLAPP suits have often involved a powerful corporation suing local citizens for speaking against their company.

Q1) What is an Ex-parte Injunction?

It is a court order that is issued without hearing from the other party involved in the case. It is also known as a temporary restraining order. This type of injunction is only granted in emergency situations where there is a risk of irreparable harm if immediate action is not taken. The court will consider the evidence presented by the person requesting the injunction and decide whether to grant it or not.

Source: Why Supreme Court allowed Bloomberg’s article against ZEE to remain online