Anti-SLAPP Research Hub

Anti-SLAPP Research Hub

The Anti-SLAPP Research Hub provides a forum for legal academics to research strategic litigation against public participation (SLAPP). The Hub brings together expertise across a range of legal disciplines, including human rights law, freedom of information, privacy and data protection, private international law, EU law, dispute resolution, and substantive defamation law. The Hub also provides a platform for knowledge exchange with lawyers, journalists and public policy experts.

The Anti-SLAPP Research Hub was established in 2022 to strengthen the University of Aberdeen’s long-term commitment to furthering freedom of expression and the rule of law. The School of Law has been at the forefront of efforts to combat SLAPPs in Europe since 2017. Following the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese investigative journalist who had been subject to numerous international SLAPPs, scholars in Aberdeen embarked on multiple research projects to support freedom of expression in Europe. They provided advice to the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE), the European Parliament and the European Commission, as well as co-authoring a Model Law which provided the basis for discussions concerning the EU’s draft Anti-SLAPP Directive. Training to lawyers across Europe on Anti-SLAPPs law has also been provided by the Hub through the PATFOX program. The Anti-SLAPP Hub also provides research to support advocacy for legislative reform in Scotland, as summarised in a submission to the Scottish Parliament. The Anti- Hub also provided expert evidence at the UN’s expert seminar on legal and economic threats to the safety of journalists.

Members of the Anti-SLAPP Research Hub work closely with the Centre for Private International Law and the Aberdeen Centre for Constitutional and Public International Law.


Professor Justin Borg-Barthet  


European Union Law and Private International Law

Dr Erin Ferguson  

Deputy Convener

Freedom of Information

Dr Eliza Bechtold   

Public Engagement Officer

Freedom of Expression

Dr Francesca Farrington  

Public Engagement Officer

Commercial Law and Law and Economics

Dr Michiel Poesen  

Publications Officer

European Union Law and Private International Law

Magdalena Zabrocka (PhD Candidate)  

Events Officer

European Union Law and Public International Law

Professor Greg Gordon  

Energy Law and Private Law


Dr Gloria Alvarez       

International Dispute Resolution, Energy and Investment Law

Dr Rossana Ducato  

Privacy, IT and Intellectual Property Law

Dr Claudio Lombardi 

Competition Law, Law and Economics, and Comparative Law

Nik Williams

Affiliated Member

Policy and Campaigns Officer at Index on Censorship

Susan Coughtrie

Affiliated Member

Director of The Foreign Policy Centre

Co-Chair of The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition

Graeme Johnston

Affiliated Member

Former Dispute Resolution Partner

CEO of Juralio Ltd.

Dr Linda Ravo

Affiliated Member

Senior Advocacy Consultant at Liberties

Nula Frei

Affiliate Member

Senior Researcher, University of Fribourg

Hub Activity


The Hub is involved in training lawyers across Europe on Anti-SLAPP law.


Farrington, F. and Borg-Barthet, J. “PE1975/N: Anti-SLAPP Research Hub, University of Aberdeen Submission” (March 2023)

Farrington, F. and Borg-Barthet, J. “University of Aberdeen submission of 14 December 2022 PE1975/D: Reform the Law Relating to Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs)” (December, 2022)

Poesen, M. “Civil Litigation Against Third-Country Defendants in the EU: Effective Access to Justice as a Rationale for European Harmonization of the Law of International Jurisdiction” (2022) 59 Common Market Law Review 1597

Borg-Barthet, J. “‘Daphne’s Law’: The European Commission introduces an Anti-SLAPP Initiative” (EU Law Analysis, 2022)

Borg-Barthet J. “The Legal Background of SLAPP Cases in Malta” in Bayer J et al eds. Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) in the European Union (EU-CITIZEN Network, 2021)

Borg-Barthet J., Lobina B, and Zabrocka, M.E. “The Use of SLAPPs to Silence Journalists, NGOs, and Civil Society” (European Parliament, June 2021)

Borg-Barthet J., ‘The Brussels Ia Regulation as an Instrument for the Undermining of Press Freedoms and the Rule of Law: an Urgent Call for Reform’ (University of Aberdeen School of Law Working Paper Series 2020)

Ravo, L.M., Borg-Barthet, J., Kramer, X.E. “Protecting Public Watchdogs Across the EU: A Proposal for and EU Anti-SLAPP Law (European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, 2020).

Borg-Barthet, J. “Advice Concerning the Introduction of Anti-SLAPP legislation to Protect Freedom of Expression in the European Union” (May 2020). Report commissioned by Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, Reporters Without Borders, and PEN International.;jsessionid=47C7623B67EFC2299E9D46E7F226C6CF?sequence=1


Farrington, F. and Zabrocka, M. “The Anti-SLAPP Research Hub Reflects on Media Freedom on the 30th Anniversary of World Press Freedom Day” (May 2023, University of Aberdeen)

Farrington, F. and Zabrocka, M. “The Anti-SLAPP Research Hub Calls for Global Cooperation in Tackling SLAPPs at the UN’s Expert Seminar on the Safety of Journalists” (May 2023, University of Aberdeen)

In the Media

Farrington, F. and Bog-Barthet, J. “Freedom of Speech: Scotland Could Derail Europe’s Drive to Stop Rich People Silencing Journalists" (The Conversation, February 2023)

Leask, D. “Scotland Must Follow EU and UK to Stop the Rich Gagging Their Critics” (The Herald, January 2022)

Elliards, X. “What are SLAPPs and Why Should Scotland Take Action to End Them? (The National, January 2022)

Kieran, A. “Weak SLAPPs Law Frees Rich to Silence Critics” (The Times, January 2023)

Thomson, M. “Our Justice System Should Be For All, Not Just the Richest” (The Times, January 2023)

Borg-Barthet, J. “If the Government Cared About Free Speech, It Would Reform the London Libel Industry” (The Guardian, August 2021)

Božič, K. “Justin Borg-Barthet o zastraševalnih strateških tožbah zoper sodelovanje javnosti: ‘Ne gre za zaseben, nevtralen posel, ampak za temelje naših demokracij’” (Pravna Mreža, August 2022)

Rettman, A. “EU to Defend Journalists from Malicious Law Suits” (EU Observer, June 2021)

Rosà, P. and Pierobon, C. “SLAPPs: Strategic Lawsuits Public Participation” (OBC Transeuropa, January 2020)

Borg, VP. “How to Cripple the Media in Malta” (Times of Malta, March 2020)

Demarco, J. “Weaponisation of the Law Suppressing Scrutiny of Power” (The Shift News, May 2020)

Phillips, G. “How the Free Press Worldwide is Under Threat” (The Guardian, May 2020)

Muscat, C. “’We Were Never More Proud of Her Than on the Day She Was Murdered’” (The Shift News, March 2019)

Taylor, A. “Lawsuits that Cripple Journalists: Malta a Protagonist in Debate on Press Freedom” (The Shift News, March 2019)

Allaby, E. “After Journalist’s Murder, Efforts to Combat SLAPP in Europe” (Columbia Journalism Review, April 2019)

Taylor, A. “EU Must Intervene to Protect Journalists Against SLAPP” (The Shift News, November 2019)

Hudson, D. “David Casa Calls for EU Solutions to Address Harassment of Journalists” (Malta Today, November 2019)

Garside, J. “Murdered Maltese Reporter Faced Threat of Libel Action in UK” (The Guardian, June 2018)


Workshop: Reform of EU Law on Defamation, University of Aberdeen 2019

Guest Lecture at Faculty of Law and Administration, University of Gdansk: Magdalena Zabrocka on SLAPPs, the Rule of Law, and Fundamental Rights - a Litigation Strategy or an Abuse of the Legal System? 

UN Human Rights Council, Expert Seminar on Legal and Economic Threats to the Safety of Journalists (April 2023): Francesca Farrington (Panellist) and Magdalena Zabrocka (Representative)

Webinar on Whistleblowers’ Protection in Europe, Academy of European Law: Francesca Farrington on “The EU Anti-SLAPP Proposal: The Way to Protect Public Watchdogs” (27 April 2023)

Invited Lecture: University of Aberdeen Lawyers without Borders annual Human Rights Conference: Erin Ferguson on ‘In the Public Interest: Legal Responses to SLAPPs’ (25 April 2023).

Workshop: Developing a Model Anti-SLAPP Law for Scotland (02 June 2023)