Another SLAPP in face for persistent, vexatious complainer

Screenshot 2023-04-22 at 05.16.06

A notoriously persistent, vexatious, Tameside-based complainer, Raja Miah, has suffered yet another in a long line of setbacks seeking redress against those by whom he feels slighted.

Objections made to the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority (SRA) about a leading Manchester law firm, JMW Solicitors, and two of their lawyers, has amounted to nothing.

In December, 2022, Miah lodged complaints about the firm, partner Oliver Wright and solicitor, Jemma Fleetwood, asserting that he was being subjected to oppressive litigation that breached new guidelines headed Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Precipitation (SLAPP).

They followed a pre-action protocol letter giving notice that a defamation claim was to be brought against him by nationally known health campaigner, Dr Zahid Chauhan OBE, over what was described as a ‘smear campaign’ against him.

Members of the public and stakeholders had raised concerns with the statutory regulator that some solicitors and law firms are using litigation or the threat of litigation to prevent the publication of information that could be in the public interest.

The SRA’s SLAPP guidance is intended to be helpful to anyone who is either subject to legal action or threatened with legal action, who thinks a law firm or solicitor is behaving inappropriately.

However, the SRA say it is likely to be particularly relevant where the legal action or threat of action aims to suppress freedom of speech. This could include activists, journalists, academics, or campaigners (read the guidance here).

Raja Miah’s complaints, which also included alleged pre-action protocol defects, were made very shortly after the SLAPP guidance was published and would have been one of the very first to be considered under its terms.

He later claimed, in a court document, that the SRA had confirmed to him that they were investigating his complaints but has provided no evidence in support.

In the event, no action has been taken against either of the two lawyers or the firm.

Publicly accessible court documents seen and analysed by the author of this article, Neil Wilby, strongly suggest that Miah’s complaints to the SRA were misconceived and intended to provide a smokescreen obscuring the robust, but entirely legitimate legal challenge he faces (read more here).

Miah, using his frequently banned Recusant Nine social media platforms, continued to defame Dr Chauhan, who is an Oldham councillor and set to become the Borough’s Mayor in the coming municipal year, even after a court claim and detailed particulars were issued against him on 17th January, 2023.

If, as seems very likely, Miah fails to successfully defend the claim, he faces damages of £50,000 and costs that are likely to be at least twice that figure. Losses, he says, that will render him homeless (read more here).

Despite his repeated claims to the contrary, he is still legally unrepresented with no solicitor or barrister ‘on record’ at the High Court in London.

JMW Solicitors, Oliver Wright and Raja Miah do have previous history: The law firm acted for another Oldham councillor, local magistrate and former Mayor, Cllr Riaz Ahmad, in a defamation and harassment claim brought in February 2021. Miah compromised that claim at an early stage by removing offending material, issuing a public apology and making a charity donation in Cllr Ahmad’s name to Oldham Food Bank. A settlement he does his very best to conceal (read more here).

Miah has asserted numerous times on social media that he will ‘have his day in court’ with Dr Chauahan and there will be no compromise of this defamation claim.

A spokesperson for the SRA, when approached about the Miah complaints, said that they did not comment on individual cases.

Mr Wright did not respond to a request for comment.

Bradford-born Raja Miah (pictured below), 49, of Stamford Street, Mossley is currently on both police and court conditional bail over malicious communication and harassment allegations respectively (read more here).

He repeatedly claims on his Recusant Nine platforms that his arrests were ‘politically motivated’ and that is he the subject of a wide-ranging conspiracy against him involving senior Labour Party politicians, the police, senior paid council officers and local and regional journalists.

His defence to Dr Chauhan’s defamation claim and the complaints to the SRA are and were variations on that theme.

This exclusive is plainly a story with more to come: Follow Neil Wilby on Twitter (here) and Neil Wilby Media on Facebook (here) for updates.

Page last updated Saturday 22nd April, 2023 at 0650hrs

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© Neil Wilby 2015-2023. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby Media, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

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