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European White-Collar CrimeExploring the Nature of European Realities$
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Nicholas Lord, Éva Inzelt, Wim Huisman, and Rita Faria

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9781529212327

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2022

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529212327.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 30 June 2022

Silencing Those Who Speak Up against Corporate Power: Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs) in Europe

Silencing Those Who Speak Up against Corporate Power: Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs) in Europe

Chapter:
(p.207) 13 Silencing Those Who Speak Up against Corporate Power: Strategic Lawsuits against Public Participation (SLAPPs) in Europe
Source:
European White-Collar Crime
Author(s):

Judith van Erp

Tess van der Linden

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781529212327.003.0013

This essay explores the topic of strategic libel and defamation suits by corporate actors against NGOs and journalists in Europe in relation to corporate environmental crime and corruption – issues that are often related. This essay adopts a criminological perspective by placing strategic litigation in the broader context of corporate strategies to conceal corporate crimes and harms. Corporations employ a variety of tactics to shield themselves from critiques about their harmful behaviour, ranging from reputation management; manipulation of information; and litigation; to straightforward threats and attacks against critics (Bradshaw 2015; Wahlin 2019). Criminologists also emphasize the role of social control of crime in addition to state control. This essay therefore first discusses the role of civil society in social control of corporate harm, and the importance of open debate about corporate actions. The essay continues by reviewing a variety of ‘SLAPP’ (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) cases that have emerged in Europe to identify some of the forms and consequences of SLAPPS in the European context, although by no means providing an extensive overview. Last, the essay discusses recent legislative reforms in North America to protect free speech and public interest litigation, as well as calls for such reforms in the EU.

Keywords:   White-collar crime, Corporate crime, SLAPPS, Social control, Europe

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