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New target for lawyer-bashing

By May 5, 2022Lawyers

Lawyer-bashing has been a long standing national pastime, with criticism regularly formulated by politicians and the press on ‘fat cat’ defence barristers and ‘activist’ legal aid lawyers for having the resolute to carry out their job.

However, a new target has manifested – the supposed ‘enablers’ of oligarchs, whose cash was mostly welcomed in London until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A panel of eminent investigative journalists queued up at the Frontline Club in London this week to contest claimant media lawyers as the pressure continues to rise.

A few firms are ‘becoming the servants of the super-rich’ and using litigation in an attempt to ‘silence a journalist for years’, noted Clare Rewcastle Brown, whose work revealed corruption in Malaysia resulted in her being sued in London and elsewhere.

A reporter at Tortoise Media, Paul Caruana Galizia, whose mother Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered in Malta in 2017, noted that London lawyers are offering a ‘one-stop oligarch shop’ and, in some cases, are actually ‘acting for an organised crime group’.

An officer of the court also joined in, with Adelaide Lopez – a senior associate at Wiggin who represented journalist Catherine Belton recently – stating that ‘naming and shaming … is probably going to be more effective than anything the SRA is going to do’.

When questioned whether the Solicitors Regulation Authority has the ‘capacity or the competence’ to impose potential new requirements to stop so-called ‘lawfare’, Lopez and fellow lawyer Charlie Holt – the UK campaigns manager for English PEN – both answered: ‘No.’

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