An event aimed at informing MEPs and the public about “Strategic lawsuits against public participation”, known by the English acronym “SLAPP” (Strategic lawsuits against public participation), was held on Tuesday, February 28, at the European Parliament (EP), in Brussels, in the presence of the President of the EP, Roberta Metsola.
The event took place in the framework of the European PATFox (Pioneering Anti-SLAPP Training for Freedom of Expression) project, in which the Cyprus University of Technology (CUT) participates, together with 10 other partners from Germany, Malta, Bulgaria, Croatia, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Spain.
The aim of the project is to train lawyers from the eleven EU Member States participating in the project on how to defend against strategic lawsuits. The coordinator of the project in Cyprus is Professor Maria Kapardis of the Cyprus University of Technology, Cyprus.
During the event, a discussion was held among the participants on the challenges and weaknesses of the existing legislation and the need to harmonise it with the Directive proposed by the European Commission on the protection of persons engaging in public participation activities from manifestly unfounded or abusive legal proceedings aimed at intimidating and silencing them.
A year ago, eleven organisations from across the European Union came together in an effort to equip legal professionals with the necessary knowledge and tools to effectively defend victims against abusive lawsuits, which have been identified as one of the key challenges to the right to freedom of expression, across Europe.
The EU co-funded PATFox project brings this issue to the European forefront and brings together efforts to address it.
In addition to the proposed directive, the European Commission is proposing a series of measures to tackle abusive lawsuits against journalists and human rights defenders in general, including training for legal professionals, which the Commission describes as “vital”. This programme is designed to meet precisely this need.
The event in Brussels, hosted by MEP and Chair of the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament (LIBE), Juan Fernando López Aguilar, brought together the programme partners and stakeholders, including some of Europe’s most prominent experts, practising lawyers, legal practitioners and academics. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the current situation in relation to this issue and to exchange views on how to better implement measures and harmonise with the proposed Directive, which, according to the President of the EP, will be adopted by May 2024.
In the framework of the programme, the first workshop for legal professionals/lawyers was successfully held in Cyprus, on 22 November 2022, at the offices of the Cyprus Bar Association, with great success.
The second phase of training workshops will take place in the coming months. Lawyers, journalists or individuals interested in participating in these workshops can express their interest by sending an email to the Programme Coordinator in Cyprus, Professor Maria Kapardis of the Cyprus University of Technology, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Cyprus University of Cyprus I News (https://bit.ly/3ZpZihZ)