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.
Genesis of the EU Anti-SLAPP Law
Fellow Talk by Satyajit Sarna (Leiden University), chaired by Viktoria Kraetzig (JWG Universität Frankfurt/Main)
Satyajit Sarna is a practising lawyer with over a decade of experience of appearing before the courts in India in a wide range of matters. He has extensive first-hand experience defending against SLAPPs in courts in India, as part of a media law focused practice. He has defended publishers, writers, newspapers and journalists against large businesses, motivated government actions and powerful private organizations. He graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, India and holds an Advanced LLM in European and International Human Rights Law from Leiden University in the Netherlands. He is also a widely published writer.