EU Going Forward with an Anti-SLAPP Law

EU Going Forward with an Anti-SLAPP Law

What is an anti-slapp? Hello, this is Reinhard von Hennigs. And before we dig deeper into the question of what an anti-SLAPP is, let's talk about what a slapp is. SLAPP is an acronym, and it stands for strategic lawsuit against public participation. It is in other words, an intimidation lawsuit. If somebody doesn't want somebody else to talk about it, How about filing a lawsuit and having this person silenced because otherwise, the legal costs will be tremendous. 

Especially in countries where there is no loser pay rule. It is very expensive to defend oneself against a pretty useless lawsuit. Many states in the United States have an act as a so-called anti-slapp law, which means that cases filed against somebody with the intent to intimidate somebody will create a different burden of fees and expenses, and therefore it is no longer attractive. 

The European Union, however, is right now deciding to move an anti-slapp law forward. The current situation in Europe is that not a single European state has enacted an anti-slapp law and now the European Union wants to govern all over Europe to protect public policy, watchdogs, journalists, whistleblowers, and whoever it is from a SLAPP. 

It is useful because, under the Lugano convention and other different European rules, it is relatively easy to pick the best place in Europe to file a lawsuit. Forum shopping, how it's called, and then go against somebody who's speaking from a public policy point of view.

The European Union is now pushing this measure forward to protect the freedom of speech all over Europe. Non-member states are of course doing something outside of the European Union, but within the European Union, this may change the freedom of the press, where there is no more fear for any SLAPP litigation.

#428, June 2021, SLAPP, EU, litigation, Lugano Convention.