Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation is a well researched and analysed concept in the US. Sunita Narrain discusses its use against activists in India in this article which raises several other important issues:
‘the pesticide industry through its associations has filed countless cases against activists and scientists, but with an important difference. These cases derive from what is known in the us as slapp —acronym for ‘strategic lawsuits against public participation’. These are ‘different’ because the corporation (or its front organisation or lawyer) uses it not to get justice, but to threaten, intimidate and gag. The cases are filed not against institutions that can defend their interests but carefully target individuals and, in particular, professionals who refuse to prostitute their science to suit industry. The companies who file slapp cases rarely win in court, but make the defendants spend a huge amount of time and money running to the courts to fight the case. This harassment discourages others from petitioning government on public issues. Industry’s business is served.’
Rajeev Dhavan also discusses SLAPPs in this article. I have written about multiple litigation merely as a tool for harrassment on this blog and elsewhere in the context of artistic freedom – but the basic idea is the same. The cases are filed not to secure any result, but use the process as punishment.