Global Freedom of Expression

Factsheet on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)

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Factsheet on Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)

Prepared by Alan Vogelfanger

This Factsheet is meant to complement our Special Collection paper How are courts responding to SLAPPs? Analysis of selected court decisions from across the globe, by focusing on the judicial interpretations of SLAPPs in different regions. While the jurisprudence included here is not comprehensive, it represents the most important judgments contained in the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Case Law database. For a complete access to all our SLAPP case analysis, readers can click here and learn more about how SLAPPs are manifesting around the world.

The use of SLAPPs by politicians, public figures, and big companies to stifle public debate and harass journalists, NGOs and environmental and human rights defenders is increasing. To prevent a chilling effect on those critical of powerful actors, new legislation and appropriate judicial remedies are needed. While there are many cases that can be classified as a SLAPP, even if courts do not always recognize them as such, this Factsheet features how judges are understanding them. In particular, the Factsheet focuses on the definitions of SLAPP, and on four of its main components: Power Imbalance, Public Interest Matters, Remedies claimed, and Litigation costs and reparations.


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