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Legal Defence against SLAPPs

Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) are frequently deployed by companies to silence and harass critics. SLAPPs seek to manipulate the judicial system by masquerading as legitimate legal claims, abusing laws (e.g. on libel / defamation) to target valid and protected speech or protest.

SLAPPs can be effective in gagging critics: they take advantage of the prohibitive costs and time that it takes to litigate a case, and can result in prison sentences and other harmful physical, financial and psychological impacts on defenders. As importantly, they have a chilling effect on free expression, disrupt legitimate collective action to defend the rights of workers and communities.

Lawyers and legal advocates have used a range of innovate strategies to defend critics against SLAPPs. Several countries have passed legislation that aims – or can be used - to protect defenders against SLAPPs, such as Australia, the US, Canada (in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec), Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia (here and here). This hub brings together resources on the legal defence against SLAPPs in an effort to end their use and to hold companies accountable for judicial harassment.

Our Resources

SLAPPs Case Profiles

Summary of lawsuits by companies against human rights defenders that bear the hallmarks of SLAPPs.

2020 Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing on SLAPPs in Southeast Asia

Emblematic SLAPPs case studies from Southeast Asia, with an outline of the legal framework in which these lawsuits are brought.

SLAPPs by Big Polluters to Silence Environmental Defenders

Guidance for investors with key questions to avoid risk and prevent SLAPPs against human rights defenders.

SLAPPs Database

Global database of cases that bear the hallmarks of SLAPPs.

SLAPPs in Southeast Asia: Cases and Recommendations

Collation of legal arguments, court decisions and recommendations regarding SLAPPs in the region.

Andy Hall's legal fight against SLAPPs by Natural Fruit

Interview on Andy Hall's counter-suit against the Thai authorities & Natural Fruit.