New SLAPPs report shows urgent need for strong anti-SLAPP legislation across Europe

23 August 2023

A new report The Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation produced for CASE, published today, shows the urgent need for strong anti-SLAPP legislation across Europe, including Daphne’s Law, the directive proposed by the European Commission which the Council of the EU is threatening to undermine.

The 2023 report provides the most recent overview of the data collected for CASE on a rolling basis. The updated analysis comprises 200+ abusive lawsuits filed since the first CASE report (2022) and covers a broader regional scope. The 2023 CASE report shows that:

  • year on year, SLAPPs are increasingly a worrying threat to democracy across Europe – CASE’s database has increased from 570 cases in 2022 to over 820 cases in 2023;
  • the most common SLAPP litigants are those in positions of power, namely, businesses and politicians;
  • SLAPPs mostly target actions or publications on corruption, government, business and environmental issues;
  • the most likely targets of a SLAPP are journalists, media outlets, editors, activists and NGOs, in that order;
  • most lawsuits are based on national defamation laws or similar provisions on insult or honour;
  • the median value of damages claimed was €15,150;
  • a notable number of SLAPP lawsuits were mapped in Malta, France, Croatia, Greece, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Georgia;
  • abusive legal actions are most commonly launched against individuals, which shows how critical it is for a support network to be available;
  • Malta tops the list of 47 countries for the highest number of SLAPPs p/100,000 people with a score of 19.93. Slovenia is in second place with a score of 8.