Logging Company Stumps Up Millions More for SLAPP Against Activists

Tasmanian logging company Gunns has told shareholders that it plans to spend $A2 million pursuing SLAPPs against a group of environmentalists, known as the Gunns 20. So far the court has thrown out all three of the company's statements of claim and ordered it to pay the defendants legal costs. Shareholder activist Stephen Mayne argues the case illustrates how "bull-headed" the company is: "It's an example of poor corporate governance, that if you want to get on with your community and deal with people constructively, you don't go suing the world." Victorian Supreme Court Justice Bernard Bongiorno is considering whether to allow the company's latest statement of claim. Gunns recently sacked its legal team and instead appointed the controversial legal firm, Clayton Utz, to represent it. Gunns action is one of SLAPP's in Australia taken against Australian citizens, prompting calls for legal reform to shield community groups from similar threats.