The Anti-SLAPP Directive creates a promising minimum standard for Member States

In a press release endorsed by Amnesty International, the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) welcomes the adoption of the Anti-SLAPP Directive in the European Parliament in today’s plenary vote. This directive sets the minimum standards for protecting public watchdogs against abusive litigation in the form of SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

The responsibility now lies with Member States to build on the foundation set by the Anti-SLAPP Directive and draft effective national legislation which includes: 

  • A broad scope to cover also domestic SLAPP cases and claims governed by criminal procedural law or in administrative procedures;
  • Robust guarantees in terms of the early dismissal mechanism to filter out SLAPPs;
  • Safeguards in national legislation on damage compensation with specific criteria as well as imposing substantial fines on the claimant for using SLAPPs to intimidate public watchdogs;
  • Non-legal instruments such as support mechanisms, awareness and training of judges/lawyers, ethics of lawyers, data-gathering and monitoring of SLAPPs – these instruments are detailed in the Commission’s Anti-SLAPP Recommendation of 27 April 2022 and in the upcoming Council of Europe Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers.

CASE has analysed three of the most important aspects of the final text of Anti-SLAPP Directive and our recommendations for transposition into national legislation:

CASE will be monitoring the transposition closely to ensure that these minimum standards are met across Europe and that legislation is drafted in line with the Commission’s anti-SLAPP Recommendation and the upcoming Council of Europe Recommendation on SLAPPs. While the positive plenary vote is an important next step in the fight against SLAPPs, we reiterate that everything remains to be done at Member State level to protect public watchdogs against SLAPPs. Member States, this is your cue: now everything remains to be done at Member States level to protect public watchdogs against SLAPPs.