Scottish Anti-SLAPP Summit | Monday 26 February 2024

Ensuring Scotland is not left behind in the fight against SLAPPs

This conference hosted by Index on Censorship, the University of Glasgow and Justice for Journalists Foundation will bring together lawyers, journalists, experts and campaigners to learn more about the SLAPPs landscape in Scotland, identify the gaps in Scots Law and explore what we can do to protect Scotland’s courts from abuse.

It will also feature a keynote presentation from Paul Radu, the co-founder of the Organised Crime & Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), which has reported widely on the impact of corruption and abuses of power on democracies across the globe. As a result, they have been threatened numerous times, including in London, where Radu himself had to defend himself against a sitting Azerbaijani MP. He will talk about how this has impacted his team’s work, as well as the innovative ways public watchdogs can protect themselves.

Also joining us will also be a number of people targeted in Scotland, including an anti-fish farm campaigner who has been prevented from scrutinising fish farms off the coast of Scotland by an interdict secured by a multinational company and a former MSP who was sued for writing about the claims made by a conservation project.

We hope you will join this session that looks to ensure Scotland has the protections in place to ensure all public interest speech is protected. Only by moving against SLAPPs can we ensure Scotland values and protects free expression for everyone who speaks out.

Join the Scottish Anti-SLAPP Summit Online wherever you are
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At any point during the Summit, if you have any questions or comments, please submit them via writing through the chat or Q&A function in the Zoom call. People in the room will ensure they are shared with the chair or panellist. 


Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) poison the groundwater for all free expression. They can be used to threaten anyone who speaks out with legal action aimed at draining resources, time and the ability to work. For too long Courts in London have enabled oligarchs and others to shut down critical speech. Even a sanctioned warlord and a Russian oil and gas company were able to use British courts to threaten journalists and writers. But this is not isolated to England. Whether a blog forced to take down their entire website due to threats from a former oil company CEO, a volunteer Facebook group moderator having a defamation threat hanging over his head for seven years, or a writer receiving a legal letter from a Scottish law firm demanding that he pulls his book from the shelves due to his reporting on the vice-president of Angola, Scotland is not immune.

Slowly the UK Government has started to act and this mirrors progress by the Council of Europe and the European Commission to ensure England, Wales and the rest of Europe shuts their doors to SLAPPs. However, Scotland and the Scottish Government have been silent on this issue. This could fly a flag to those seeking to silence their critics that the country is open for their business shutting down public interest speech.


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Paul Radu

Paul Radu is co-founder and chief of innovation at OCCRP. He founded the organization in 2007 with Drew Sullivan. He leads OCCRP’s major investigative projects, scopes regional expansion, and develops new strategies and technology to expose organized crime and corruption across borders.

Paul initiated and led the award-winning RussianAzerbaijani, and Troika Laundromat investigations, and coined the term “laundromat” to define large scale, all-purpose financial fraud vehicles that are used to launder billions of dollars. He is a co-creator of Investigative Dashboard — a research desk that sifts through datasets to help journalists trace people, companies, and assets — and the Visual Investigative Scenarios software, a tool that lets reporters sketch out the people, institutions, and connections in criminal networks so people can easily follow complex investigations. He is also a co-founder of RISE Project, a platform for investigative reporters in Romania.

Dr Stephen Bogle

Dr Stephen Bogle is a Senior Lecturer in Private Law at the University of Glasgow. Before commencing his LLM and PhD at the University of Edinburgh, he qualified as a solicitor in Scotland specialising in dispute resolution. Since 2016, he has been involved in the reform of defamation law in Scotland. He has recently completed an extensive investigation into the operation of defamation law in England & Wales.

Susan Coughtrie

Susan Coughtrie has been Director of FPC, an international affairs think tank, since January 2023, having originally joined in 2020 as Project Director for the Unsafe for Scrutiny project, which explores the risks and threats facing journalists uncovering financial crime and corruption. The findings of this research led Susan to co-found the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition in January 2021, which she continues to co-chair. Susan has undertaken a variety of consultancy work in the media sphere, having previously worked at the international free expression organisation ARTICLE 19 from 2012-2018, as an advisor to the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) from 2019-2022, and served as a board member for the Scottish investigative media outlet The Ferret from 2020-22. Susan is also a Trustee for the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland (CFoIS).

Mark Daly

Mark Daly is a multi-award winning investigative journalist for BBC Scotland and Panorama. A former newspaper reporter for the Clydebank Post, Scotsman and Daily Record, he joined the BBC in 2002. His first film was the Bafta-winning undercover documentary The Secret Policeman, in which he infiltrated one of Britain's biggest police forces to reveal racism. He then worked for the BBC's Rough Justice programme, helping to secure the acquittal of two men wrongly convicted of murder. Subsequently, he has made more than 50 investigative documentaries and specialises in complex and high profile investigations. He has covered subjects ranging from the Stephen Lawrence case, the banking crisis, the financial collapse of Rangers FC, the athletics doping scandal, child sex abuse in the Catholic Church and in Scottish football. He collaborated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists on the “Paradise Papers”, has made a multiple documentaries about the Sheku Bayoh case, the Scottish Ferries scandal, scottish politics and most recently made a Panorama investigation about ballet schools and a Disclosure film on the Post Office scandal. During a career spanning 25 years Mark’s work has been recognised with prizes such as a UK Bafta, two Scottish Baftas and ten Royal Television Society awards, including UK Young Journalist of the Year and Scottish TV Journalist of year.

Carole Ewart

Carole Ewart is a public policy and human rights consultant, Director of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in Scotland, Member of the ‘Access Info’ International Advisory Board and Board of Directors, and Member of Project Board, Jimmy Reid Foundation which is an independent ‘think tank’ for progressive policy in Scotland.

Francesca Farrington

Francesca Farrington is a lecturer at the School of Law, University of Aberdeen, where she is Deputy Convenor of the Anti-SLAPP Research Hub. The Hub investigate the strategic use of litigation to suppress freedom of expression on matters of public interest. She is a member of the Scottish sub-working group of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition. She has acted as a consultant on SLAPPs for the European Parliament and the United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.

Dani Garavelli

Dani Garavelli is a freelance feature writer, columnist and occasional broadcaster.

Charlie Holt

Charlie Holt is the European Head of Global Climate Legal Defence (CliDef), an organisation set up to support climate activists facing SLAPPs and other legal threats. He also advises on legal strategy for Greenpeace International, where he leads the organisation’s SLAPP resilience strategy and sits on the European Commission’s Expert Group on SLAPPs. He sits on the Steering Committee of the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE) and co-chairs the UK Working Group on SLAPPs. Since 2016, Charlie has advised on the response of Greenpeace International to two aggressive large-scale SLAPPs targeting Greenpeace entities in the USA, and in 2018 helped to set up the US anti-SLAPP coalition Protect the Protest.

David Leask

David Leask is a freelance newspaper reporter.

Bobby Lindsay

Bobby Lindsay is a Lecturer in Private Law at the University of Glasgow. He teaches defamation, privacy, and the rules that apply to cross-border disputes in these, and other, areas. He has a BCL from the University of Oxford and a Ph.D from the University of Glasgow. With Stephen Bogle, he gave evidence to the Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament on the bill which became the 2021 Act, and has co-authored a paper on the operation of the serious harm test in England and Wales and the lessons that Scotland can learn.

Jennifer McAdam (joining remotely)

Jennifer McAdam, international author of 'Devil's Coin,' has fearlessly transformed her career from marketing to becoming a steadfast advocate for victims of the OneCoin multi billion global fraud. Despite battling illness, Jennifer's unwavering dedication sees her championing the cause through her online Victims' Support Groups and public engagements, seeking retribution for fellow victims and holding perpetrators accountable. Her remarkable resilience and commitment serve as a beacon of inspiration in the fight against cryptocurrency fraud. Jennifer's extraordinary journey and pursuit of victims' justice are set to be immortalized in a Hollywood movie, shining a light on her unwavering determination and the quest for accountability and redemption.

Rosalind McInnes

Rosalind McInnes graduated LLB (Hons), Dip LP from the University of Glasgow in 1991, trained at A&WM Urquhart and worked in private practice as a commercial litigator in Edinburgh before joining the BBC in 1997 from Maclay Murray & Spens. She is the author of Scots Law for Journalists; Contempt of Court in Scotland; Media Law & Practice; and the annotations to the Freedom of Information Scotland Act 2002. She has done judicial training in Ukraine, spoken internationally on media law topics and judged at the Monroe Price Media Law Moot in Oxford.

Roger Mullin

Roger Mullin is an Honorary Professor, Law and Philosophy, at the University of Stirling. He is a former Member of Parliament in which capacity he was a treasury spokesperson and campaigner on corruption issues, most notably seeking to abolish or reform Scottish Limited Partnerships. He is currently an Ambassador for Transparency Task Force in the UK and a director of the humanitarian organisation REVIVE Campaign. He has a petition before the Scottish Parliament to reform the Law of Scotland and tackle the issue of SLAPPs.

Anna Myers

Anna Myers is Executive Director of the Whistleblowing International Network (WIN), a network to strengthen civil society organisations that support whistleblowers around the world. Originally from Canada, and a qualified lawyer, Anna was Deputy Director of Public Concern at Work (now called Protect) in London and worked for the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) in Strasbourg. She advised the Council of Europe’s Committee on Legal Cooperation (CDCJ) on Recommendation CM/Rec(2014)7 on the protection of whistleblowers. Under her leadership, WIN helped secure an EU Directive to protect whistleblowers and set up the EU Whistleblowing Monitor. Anna is on the Steering Committee for the Coalition Against SLAPPs in Europe (CASE).

Christine O'Neill KC

Christine O'Neill KC is Chair of Brodies LLP. As a solicitor advocate she appears regularly in courts and tribunals including the Court of Session and the UK Supreme Court, with a particular focus on public and regulatory law. She has acted for BBC Scotland since 2012 as part of a panel of solicitors who provide support on issues including defamation, contempt of court, privacy and freedom of information. She advises a range of other clients on media and reputation management issues and has acted for clients seeking to pursue and defend actions aimed at preventing access to, and publication of, damaging material. As part of the senior management team at Brodies she has a particular interest in the approach of professional regulators to when, and how, lawyers should conduct themselves in these cases.

Maria Ordzhonikidze

Maria Ordzhonikidze is a Director of the Justice for Journalists Foundation. Over the course of her international career, Ms Ordzhonikidze has designed and managed a number of public awareness, advocacy, human rights and crisis management campaigns. As a Secretary General of the EU-Russia Centre she oversaw its research and lobbying efforts in Brussels and wider Europe. She ran the international litigation communication and advocacy campaign as the Head of Khodorkovsky Press Center in Russia. A visiting professor in International Communications at Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, she conducted training programmes for corporations, NGOs and individuals. Ms Ordzhonikidze has authored research and articles and regularly speaks on subjects including sociological and political trends, international relations, freedom of speech and global security. She holds an MA in Sociology from the Moscow State University and an MA in Intelligence and Security from Brunel University.

Gill Phillips

Gill Phillips is an editorial legal consultant for the Guardian. She was the Guardian’s director of editorial legal services between 2009 and 2023, during which time she advised on a number of major investigations such as Wikileaks, Edward Snowden, phone hacking, the Panama, Paradise and Pandora Papers and the Uber Files. Before joining the Guardian, Gill was an in-house lawyer at the BBC and Times Newspapers covering a range of pre- and post-publication legal matters such as defamation, privacy, contempt and open justice issues, as well as copyright and data protection. She also sits as a part-time Employment Tribunal judge.

Don Staniford

Don Staniford is an “Extreme Activist” who has campaigned against toxic salmon pharms for 25 years – he is currently Director of $camon $cotland and Global Director of the Real Salmon Farming Resistance. He is an award-winning campaigner and author. In 2002, he was awarded the Andrew Lees Memorial Award at the British Environment & Media Awards. In 2005, he won the Roderick Haig-Brown BC Book Prize for “A Stain Upon the Sea: West Coast Salmon Farming” (co-authored with Alexandra Morton, Stephen Hume, Otto Langer, Betty Keller and Rosella Leslie).

Photo: Nicholas Bradley

Rebecca Stott (joining remotely)

Rebecca Stott is a historian, writer and broadcaster and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She is the author of books of fiction and non-fiction including the novels Ghostwalk, The Coral Thief and Dark Earth as well as the memoir In the Days of Rain which won the Costa Biography Prize in 2017. This memoir tells the story of her childhood growing up inside a cult called the Exclusive Brethren. When one of her father's ex-Brethren friends who had given her information for the book was attacked by Brethren lawyers using a prolonged campaign of vexatious litigation, she and several others stepped into support and defend him.

Dr Andrew Tickell

Dr Andrew Tickell is a senior lecturer in law at Glasgow Caledonian University and a freelance writer and broadcaster focussing on law and politics. His research and teaching focuses on criminal law, evidence, and constitutional and media law. He has also given evidence to the Scottish Parliament on multiple occasions, including on free expression issues including the Defamation and Malicious Publication (Scotland) Act 2021 and Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021.

Andy Wightman

Andy Wightman is a writer and researcher focussing on land governance, land ownership and community land rights. He is the author of publications including Who Owns Scotland (1996), Scotland: Land and Power (1999), Community Land Rights: A Citizen’s Guide (2009) and The Poor Had No Lawyers (2010). He runs Who Owns Scotland project. From 2016 to 2021, Andy was a Member of the Scottish Parliament 2-16-2021. He was a Specialist Adviser to the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee Inquiry on Land Reform 2013-15 and was a member of the Commission on Local Tax Reform in 2015. He lives in Lochaber.

Nik Williams

Nik Williams is the policy and campaigns officer at Index on Censorship working on global free expression issues including SLAPPs, media freedom and digital rights. He is a co-chair of the UK Anti-SLAPP Coalition and convener of the Scottish Anti-SLAPP Working Group. Prior to this, at the European Centre for Press and Media Freedom, he coordinated the inaugural year of the Media Freedom Rapid Response, which responds to violations of media freedom in Europe. Previously, Nik led Scottish PEN’s campaigning and advocacy, focusing on defamation reform, free expression, digital rights and surveillance policy. Nik is also the co-chair of the investigative journalism co-op, The Ferret, and a journalist protection advisor at The Coalition For Women In Journalism.


More speakers to be announced


Advanced Research Centre (ARC), University of Glasgow

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