16 July 2021
16 July 2021
The European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) supports a new policy paper by the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition, titled “Countering Legal Intimidation and SLAPPs”.
It is comprised of:
– Background to the issue of legal intimidation and SLAPPs in the UK;
– Principles for mitigating the threat of legal intimidation;
– Approaches to countering legal intimidation and SLAPPs in the UK.
SLAPPs are abusive lawsuits pursued with the purpose of shutting down acts of public participation. These legal actions are directed against individuals and organisations – including journalists, media outlets, whistleblowers, activists, academics and NGOs – that speak out on matters of public interest. SLAPPs have been gaining wider recognition as an issue in several jurisdictions. However, there is also a significant concern regarding the ‘hidden problem’ of UK law firms sending threatening legal communication prior to any official filings, which can have a similar effect to SLAPPs. These legal threats are particularly effective when emanating from the UK, which is seen as a more plaintiff-friendly jurisdiction and where mounting a defence is a particularly costly and lengthy process.
1. To provide an overview of the problem in the UK context;
2. To identify the key principles for mitigating the threat of legal intimidation and SLAPPs; and
3. To form a starting point for legislative and regulatory initiatives to address this issue in the UK.
Blueprint for Free Speech
Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland
Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice (affiliate)
The Daphne Foundation
European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF)
Foreign Policy Centre
Good Law Project
Guardian News and Media Ltd
Index on Censorship
Justice for Journalists Foundation
National Union of Journalists
Publish What You Pay UK (PWYPUK)
Reporters Without Borders (RSF)
Rights and Accountability in Development (RAID)
Rory Peck Trust
Spotlight on Corruption
Transparency International – UK
Whistleblowing International Network (WIN)
Find the full policy paper as well as an explanatory note to approaches to Countering Legal Intimidation and SLAPPs in the UK below.