The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition expresses concern at defamation action threatened by Gerry Adams’ solicitor

Mar 25, 2024 | News

The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition expresses concern at the defamation action that has been threatened against Matthew Jury, a solicitor at McCue Jury & Partners LLP, in relation to a press release issued by his law firm earlier this year. The press release followed a judgment in an ongoing civil claim being taken by Jury’s clients against the former Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams. The legal letter was issued by Adams’ solicitor Martin Howe and his law firm, Howe and Co Solicitors, in relation to a comment from Jury that was contained in the press release. 

Marked as “private and confidential”, the legal letter called on Jury to apologise publicly in court, delete his X post, publish a pre-agreed apology and retraction, enter into an undertaking to not repeat the statement, and to pay legal costs. If he failed to comply, the claimants would seek damages against him, the letter said. Although the press release was issued by McCue Jury & Partners LLP, Jury is named as an individual in the legal letter. The letter cited articles from ABC News, the Guardian, the Associated Press, and Irish Legal News, which had quoted Jury in their coverage of the judgment against Adams.

The co-chairs of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition said: 

“The legal case that Jury was commenting on is a matter of widespread public interest and, therefore, the provision of quotes to media outlets constitutes a clear act of public participation. We are deeply concerned that this case is a strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP), aimed at discouraging Jury from speaking out about the case”

This legal threat comes in the context of heightened concerns about the use of legal threats and lawsuits by members of Gerry Adams’ political party. Last year, fifteen organisations wrote to the leader of Sinn Féin, Mary Lou McDonald, to express concern over the use of SLAPPs by party members. Gerry Adams is currently suing the BBC in Dublin in relation to a Spotlight programme and article that were published in 2016.

“It is incredibly concerning that Jury’s efforts to call out legal intimidation are now being subject to legal intimidation themselves,” the co-chairs of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition said. “While solicitors do remain independent from their clients, they cannot disassociate themselves from the legal tactics that are deployed in the course of litigation.”