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REPORT: Shutting Out Criticism: How SLAPPs Threaten European Democracy

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Report released by CASE (Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe) in March 2022

Since 2019 CASE has been working with Amsterdam Law Clinics, part of the Law Faculty at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), to catalogue and analyse SLAPP cases from across Europe. Thanks to input from organisations across the CASE coalition, we have collected together 570 cases over a 10 year period. On the basis of this data, we have identified a number of clear trends. In particular, we have found that the number of SLAPP cases across Europe has been increasing year on year, with the highest number recorded in 2020, followed by 2021 and 2019.

Our report is the most comprehensive attempt yet to identify the scale and nature of SLAPPs in Europe. It builds on the work of a number of advocacy groups that have, since the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017, researched the problem of SLAPPs in Europe. They found a striking pattern emerge across the continent: public watchdogs – journalists, newspapers, activists, campaigning organisations, whistleblowers and others – were increasingly being targeted by lawsuits in response to their efforts to hold the powerful to account. This page brings all these research efforts together into one place.