The Genesis of the Proposed EU Directive on SLAPPs
Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs) are increasingly seen in courts around the world, as government entities and private parties alike take recourse to civil and criminal law to respond to criticism from the media and the public. The European Union is at present evolving a proposed directive to deal with the consequences of SLAPPs and ensure that fair and genuine criticism is safeguarded against the heavy-handed use of legal process. If the proposed directive is passed, it would be a major step at a global level, and undoubtedly have an effect on legal standards worldwide. The project will study the progress of the proposed EU Directive closely, at this opportune moment at the genesis of a seminal piece of legislation. Its specific areas of focus would be on (i) how the Directive deals with the issues of private players who are effectively engaged in matters of great public importance, and how much room for vocal criticism the EU law will countenance, (ii) how the Directive deals with abuses of jurisdiction, and (iii) how the safeguards envisioned in the Directive will extend to human rights defenders, environmental activists, and other members of civil society.