“Indispensable” PATFox work recognised at the European Parliament
Today, the European Parliament (EP) adopted the Directive on protecting persons who engage in public participation from manifestly unfounded claims or abusive court proceedings (‘Strategic lawsuits against public participation’), informally known as Daphne’s Law in honour of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia
In a landmark decision for freedom of expression and human rights advocacy, the EP with 546 votes in favour, 47 against and 31 abstentions the text agreed with the Council on 30 November 2023. The directive will enter into force on the twentieth day following its publication in the EU Official Journal. Member states will have two years to transpose the rules into their national systems.
The Directive ensures two safeguards – early dismissal if the case is unfounded, and the possibility to ask the claimant to pay the estimated costs of proceedings, including legal representation of the defendant, and damages. If the defendant requests an early dismissal, it will be up to the claimant to prove that there are grounds for proceedings to continue . The court may also impose other penalties on claimants, who are often politicians, corporations or lobby groups, such as ordering them to pay compensation for damages
However, the protection will apply to all cross-border cases except when both the defendant and claimant are from the same EU country as the court or when the case is only relevant to one member state.
This reinforces the need to ensure and promote front-line SLAPP defense efforts across the European Union. Two years ago, the project PATFox was designed to address exactly this need.
Over the last months, PATFox developed the first Europe’s first anti-SLAPP curriculum, which provides legal professionals defending journalists and media organizations, NGOs, and activists with the necessary tools to properly identify and challenge this form of abuse.
The Curriculum Hub (available at https://www.antislapp.eu/curriculum-hub ) is a user-friendly training tool composed of 73 learning materials, both in English and local languages, drawing both on international expertise and European human rights principles as well as local procedural knowledge and case law.
The Curriculum Hub is an innovative and practical platform which provides European lawyers and legal practitioners access to high quality curriculum resources for learning on anti-SLAPP defense to better meet the needs of an evolving profession.