Dr Borg-Barthet appointed to European Commission Expert Group Against SLAPP

Dr Borg-Barthet appointed to European Commission Expert Group Against SLAPP

Dr Justin Borg-Barthet

Aberdeen University’s Dr Justin Borg-Barthet has been appointed to the European Commission’s Expert Group Against SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation).

The expert group, established as part of the EU’s European Democracy Action Plan, will advise the Commission on initiatives to combat SLAPP in the Union.

SLAPP are litigious techniques designed to censor and intimidate journalists and civil society activists, deterring them from engaging in democratic criticism in the public interest.

In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that these legal techniques effectively suppress freedom of expression in the member states of the European Union.

The group will be entrusted to:

  • advise the Commission on policy initiatives related to SLAPP (such as on Member States legal aid regimes and other procedural issues, especially with a cross-border dimension) and more generally provide the Commission with a single point of contact to consult legal practitioners on SLAPP related issues;
  • support the exchange and dissemination of practices and knowledge among practitioners on SLAPP related issues; and
  • provide legal practitioners and practitioners’ associations with a forum to engage at the EU level, including on cross-border cases to encourage the development of their work and its broader availability to support victims of SLAPP

Dr Borg-Barthet’s research has been instrumental in prompting the initiation of a process of legal reform related to SLAPP in the European Union.

His work has influenced debate within the EU about anti-SLAPP regulation, underpinning an acceptance by the European Commission of the need for legislative reform, and contributing to the articulation of potential legislative solutions. Participation in the Expert Group will provide a further opportunity to contribute to the advancement of freedom of expression in the EU and beyond.

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