Members' Research Service By / October 3, 2022

Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) [EU Legislation in Progress]

Media freedom and pluralism are part of the rights enshrined in the European Charter on Fundamental Rights (Article 11) and in the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 10 ECHR), together with freedom of expression and information.

© Siam / Adobe Stock

Written by Rafał Mańko (3rd edition, updated on 03.07.2023).

On 27 June 2023, the Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) adopted its report on the proposal for a directive concerning the protection of journalists and human rights defenders from abusive civil proceedings. The Commission’s proposal of 27 April 2022 came in response to a legislative initiative of Parliament. The JURI committee supports the proposal, and has put forward a number of amendments seeking to strengthen it. Once approved in plenary, the report will form the basis for trilogue negotiations with the Council, which adopted its general approach on 9 June 2023.

Please accept YouTube cookies to play this video. By accepting you will be accessing content from YouTube, a service provided by an external third party.

YouTube privacy policy

If you accept this notice, your choice will be saved and the page will refresh.

The main changes to the Commission proposal set out in the JURI report include the introduction of a minimum harmonisation clause, expansions of the definitions of abusive court proceedings and public participation, and a wider scope for the cross border element, necessary to trigger the directive. People engaged in public participation would enjoy a right to information, legal aid, financial assistance and psychological support. There would be national registers of anti-SLAPP court decisions, and a Union-wide register run by the Commission. New rules on conflict of laws and jurisdictions would determine the courts having jurisdiction and the applicable law. Member States would be obliged to set up ‘one-stop shops’ composed of national networks of specialised lawyers, legal practitioners and psychologists to offer guidance, information and protection, including legal aid, financial and psychological support, to people targeted by abusive litigation. The topic of SLAPPs would have to form part of legal profession training, in order to raise awareness of abusive proceedings and the remedies available under the directive.


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on protecting persons who engage in public participation from manifestly unfounded or abusive court proceedings (‘Strategic lawsuits against public participation’)
Committee responsible:Legal Affairs (JURI)COM(2022) 177 final
Rapporteur:Tiemo Wölken (S&D, Germany)2022/0117(COD)
Shadow rapporteurs:Magdalena Adamowicz (EPP, Poland)
Ilana Cicurel (Renew, France)
Marie Toussaint (Greens/EFA, France)
Gilles Lebreton (ID,France)
Jorge Buxadé Villalba (ECR, Spain)
Manon Aubry (The Left, France)
Ordinary legislative procedure (COD) (Parliament and Council on equal footing – formerly ‘co-decision’)
Next steps expected: Vote on committee report in plenary
timeline-10 steps-voted in plenary

Related Articles

Be the first to write a comment.

Leave a Reply