Anti-SLAPP Conference

Anti-SLAPP Conference


27-28 November 2023
In London and Online



The Foreign Policy Centre (FPC), the Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ) and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) are pleased to announce the third edition of the UK Anti-SLAPP Conference to be held on Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 November 2023, both online and in-person in London. 

We are delighted that we will also be joined this year by the Thomson Reuters Foundation as a supporting organisation, alongside our long standing partners – Index on Censorship, EnglishPEN, ARTICLE 19, Media Defence, and the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF). This year’s edition of the conference is being delivered in part with support from the Global Media Defence Fund.

‘Tracking Implementation’ on SLAPP solutions

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘Tracking Implementation’. This follows on from two highly successful previous editions: the first held in 2021, highlighted the issue of SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation), at the time not a well known concept in the UK; and the second, held in 2022, focused on spotlighting solutions. These range from legislative and regulatory reforms to practical support for those subject to SLAPPs and the need for efforts to introduce a broader cultural change. 

All these aspects have seen progress over the last few months, both in and outside of the UK, for example: 

  • On 13th June 2023, the UK Government announced a SLAPP amendment to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill, currently progressing through Parliament. If brought into law it would be the first anti-SLAPP measure in the UK, but would be limited to disclosures related to economic crime. The UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition welcomed this development but called on the Government to take more action to provide universal SLAPPs protection, regardless of the subject matter, ideally in line with the Model UK Anti-SLAPP Law, which already has widespread support.
  • Meanwhile the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the body that regulates solicitors in England and Wales has continued to open investigations into potential SLAPP cases, but the outcomes of these 50+ cases are still pending.
  • In the European Union, progress towards an Anti-SLAPP Directive has also hit some recent road blocks. A common position to a draft anti-SLAPP law endorsed by the EU governments on 8th June 2023 was criticised by the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) for heavily watering down the European Commission’s original proposal.


This third edition of the conference will once more bring together experts from across the globe to delve into SLAPPs and explore how we can reduce the impact such legal challenges have on journalists, media freedom and wider society.

To register your interest for in-person attendance in London, please email:

To tune in online, register on Eventbrite.





Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ) is a London-based charity whose mission is to fight impunity for attacks against media. Justice for Journalists Foundation monitors attacks against media workers and funds investigations worldwide into violence and abuse against professional and citizen journalists. Justice for Journalists Foundation organises media security training and creates educational materials to raise awareness about the dangers to media freedom and methods of protection from them.

The Foreign Policy Centre (FPC) is an outward-looking, non-partisan international affairs think tank based in the UK. Our mission is to provide an open and accessible space for the ideas, knowledge and experience of experts, academics and activists from across the world, so that their voices can be heard by a global audience of citizens and decision makers in order to find solutions to today’s international challenges.

In partnership with

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) works with the global legal community to promote and protect human rights and the independence of the legal profession worldwide. The IBAHRI is the Secretariat to the High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, the independent advisory body of the Media Freedom Coalition. The High Level Panel comprises a diverse group of leading international lawyers tasked with providing legal advice for the purposes of promoting and protecting a vibrant, free, and independent media.


The 2023 UK Anti-SLAPP Conference has been made possible through funding from the Justice for Journalists Foundation and UNESCO’s Global Media Defence Fund.

We are also grateful for the additional financial support this year provided by our sponsors the law firms Wiggin and RPC.


For more information see our section on SLAPP Resources




09.30 - 9.45

Arrival at venue for those attending in person

09.45 - 10.00

Welcome to the conference 

Justice for Journalists Foundation, Director

10.00 - 10.20

Opening Keynote – Countering SLAPPs: How far have we come?

Investigative reporter, OCCRP

10.20 - 10.30

Short break (10 minutes)


10.30 - 11.45

Tracking Implementation of SLAPP Solutions in the UK

In October 2023, the first anti-SLAPP measures came into law through the Economic Crime & Corporate Transparency Act. 

This session will discuss legal and regulatory developments in England and Wales since the 2nd conference, as well as look at what progress has been made in the contexts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. Speakers will also examine how closely implemented solutions reflect the recommendations made by the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition and discuss what further reforms are needed in the UK.


An independent peer and Vice Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Business Banking


Director, Foreign Policy Centre and co-chair of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition and author of London Calling report

Consultant Partner, Wiggin LLP

Investigative journalist and author of Putin's People: How the KGB Took Back Russia and Then Took On the West

Former Scottish National Party politician

11.45 - 12.00

Short break (15 minutes)


12.00 - 13.15

Implementation of Legal Measures to Address SLAPPs around the World

With the development of Anti-SLAPP measures being proposed into UK law, this session will explore what stage such reforms are at in other countries, including the efforts to introduce a federal anti-SLAPP law in the US, as well as proposals and recommendations for legal reform put forward at the European Union and Council of Europe levels. It will also look at what lessons can be learned from pre-existing laws and initiatives, and what learning can be shared to develop future measures.


High Level Panel of Legal Experts and partner at Webber Wentzel attorneys in Johannesburg, South Africa


Legal Advisor at ECPMF and Member of the Council of Europe Expert Committee on SLAPPs

Head of Policy and Campaigns, Index on Censorship and co-chair of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition

Partner, Haynes and Boone, LLP, United States

Head of Media Relations at The Daphne Foundation

13.15 - 14.15

Lunch break (60 minutes)


14.15 - 15.30

Regulatory Efforts to Address SLAPPs in the UK

This session will examine regulatory developments in England and Wales specifically, but also what wider ripple effects such efforts might have outside this jurisdiction.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has been taking proactive action against SLAPPs. In November 2022, the SRA published its Warning Notice on SLAPPs, has since conducted a thematic review and is currently investigating upwards of 50 potential SLAPP cases. The Legal Service Board (LSB) is currently examining professional ethics in the legal profession. Meanwhile, greater discussions are happening within the barrister community about what legal and regulatory changes might mean for them.


Chair of the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee


Deputy Chief Executive and General Counsel, Solicitors Regulatory Authority

Executive Director, Spotlight of Corruption

Intervention from:

Co-chair, UK-Anti SLAPP Coalition

Director of Regulation & Policy at Legal Services Board


Vice-Chair of the Bar Council of England and Wales

15.30 - 15.45

Short break (15 minutes)


15.45 - 17.00

The Cost of a SLAPP – Financially, Personally and for Society

This session will focus on the various costs of a SLAPP, starting with a cost analysis of SLAPPs in different jurisdictions. This should cast some light on why the UK is a particularly expensive (and therefore attractive jurisdiction for SLAPPs), as highlighted by the recent cost order against investigative journalist Carole Cadwalladr.

Aside from the financial cost, the panel will touch upon the personal cost for those facing SLAPPs as well as the great cost to society due to the silencing of reporting in the public interest.


Partner Howard Kennedy LLP


Investigative journalist and columnist

British journalist and Founder of Bellingcat

Founder, The Shift, Malta

Partner at RPC

17.00 - 18.00



18.00 - 19.30

SLAPPs in the Broader Context of the Safety of Journalists

How do SLAPPs fit within wider safety of journalists’ concerns and protection mechanisms? What more should be done to provide direct support to media subject to SLAPPs as well as defend media freedom more broadly? This session will explore national actions plans on safety of journalists and other needed measures.


Director of ARTICLE 19 Europe and Central Asia


Journalist, The Washington Post

General secretary of the National Union of Journalists

Minister of State for Media, Tourism and Creative Industries

Barrister and Deputy Chair of The High Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom

Reporter, PersVeilig


09.00 - 09.30

Arrival at venue for those attending in person

09.30 - 09.35

Welcome to Day Two 

Short summary of Day One and Introduction to Day Two

Director, Foreign Policy Centre

9.35 - 10.20

‘In Conversation with’ Tom Burgis, investigative journalist and author

Investigative journalist and author, Tom Burgis will discuss his experience defending SLAPP actions, as well as views on the wider implications of such legal threats, with Anneke Van Woudenberg, Executive Director of RAID.


Executive Director, RAID


Investigative reporter & author

10.20 - 10.30

Short break (10 minutes)


10.30 - 11.45

Spotlight on SLAPP Cases: Economic Crime and Beyond

The current anti-SLAPP measures being brought forward by the UK Government are limited to SLAPPs related to economic crime, yet SLAPPs can affect those speaking out on a wide range of topics in the public interest.

This session will spotlight cases that go beyond just economic crime, with a particular focus on legal threats or action brought against journalists reporting on issues related to housing and the environment. Speakers will highlight examples from the UK and abroad.


Policy and Campaigns Officer, Index on Censorship and co-chair of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition


Contributing Editor for Inside Housing and Author

Director of $camon $cotland & the Real Salmon Farming Resistance

Solicitor at Media Defence

Legal Manager, Media Freedom, Thomson Reuters Foundation

11.45 - 12.00

Short break (15 minutes)


12.00 - 13.15

SLAPPs: When the Political becomes Personal

While many politicians have been moving to address the issue of SLAPPs, there are a number of politicians that use legal action, or the threat of them, to prevent reporting in the public interest. In this session, speakers will provide examples from a number of countries and contexts of SLAPPs being initiated by politicians against journalists, and the impact this has on the journalist as well as society’s right to know about those in positions of power.


UK Advocacy Officer, Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

Opening remarks by:

Chair of the APPG on Anti-Corruption and Responsible Tax


Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

Founder, Tax Policy Associates

Editorial Legal Director of The Times

Journalist who was sued by a Governor in Mexico. Aguayo is the chair of the board of Propuesta Cívica in Mexico


Thai journalist with Phuketwan, facing SLAPP case brought by local mayor

13.15 - 14.15

Lunch break (60 minutes)


14.15 - 15.30

A Cultural Change: Addressing SLAPPs through Non-Legislative Measures

This session will examine the need for a cultural change as the third prong of SLAPP solutions (after legal and regulatory reform). This needed reform relates to behavioural change both by those who bring SLAPPs (e.g. politicians, business people, companies) or facilitate them (e.g. lawyers) as well as those facing them (e.g. journalists, academics, whistleblowers, activists) or supporting those who might be subject to them (e.g. publishers, universities, NGOs).

The conversation will incorporate a discussion about legal ethics, model litigant codes, legal insurance, initiatives like Reporters Shield, reporting mechanisms, as well as the availability of other forms of support and anti-SLAPP resources.


UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition Co-Chair and CASE Legal Ethics Chair


Impact Producer - the Enablers Project, the Bureau for Investigative Journalism (TBIJ)

Director, Reporters Shield

Intervention from:

Director of Policy and Communications, Protect

Director of Public Affairs, The Law Society

Director of Legal, News Media Association (NMA)

15.30 - 15.45

Short break (15 minutes)


15.45 - 16.30

What is Next for Anti-SLAPP Efforts in the UK and Globally?

This session will explore the efforts to address SLAPPs both in the UK and around the world, as we hear from the stakeholders involved in progressing change.

The session will also highlight the next steps needed in order to tackle SLAPPs and provide key recommendations to effectively achieve them.


Director of Expression, Open Society Foundations

Opening remarks from:

OSCE Rapporteur on Freedom of the Media


Head of Information Society Department, Council of Europe

Director of Europe and Central Asia, ARTICLE 19

Project Officer, UNESCO Section for Freedom of Expression and the Safety of Journalists

16:30 - 16:35

Short break (5 minutes)

16.35 - 16:45

Closing Remarks

Grants and Partnerships Manager, Justice for Journalists Foundation

16.45 - 17:00

Closing Address

Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice

17.00 - 18.00



18.00 - 19.30

SLAPPs and Attempts to Silence Survivors

This panel discussion will explore how legal action, or the threat of it, can silence reports of sexual harassment and abuse. Speakers will include those subject to violations, journalists trying to report on them, as well as lawyers and campaigners attempting to defend those facing legal challenges for speaking out.

Register to attend


Member of House of Lords of the United Kingdom, leading barrister and an expert in human rights law, civil liberties and constitutional issue


Media Editor at The Sunday Times

Barrister, Doughty Street Chambers

Co-Founder Can’t Buy My SIlence

Freelance writer and journalist