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Parliamentary questions
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13 June 2018
Answer given by Ms Jourová on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-002149/2018

The Commission is aware of the initiatives in Malta to introduce legislation against strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs). In the absence of Union competence to harmonise substantive defamation laws and address SLAPP lawsuits, Member States are free to introduce such legislation at national level.

Insofar as these initiatives govern the jurisdiction of the EU Member State's national courts in cross-border civil and commercial disputes (including defamation cases), as well as the recognition and enforcement of judgments from other Member States, they have to be in line with relevant EC law, namely Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012(1) and Regulation (EC) No 805/2004(2).

Regulation 1215/2012 provides for several jurisdictional grounds in defamation cases, at the choice of the plaintiff (defendant's domicile, as main jurisdictional ground, and, alternatively, in tort cases, the place where the harmful event occurred).

The judgments delivered by other EU Member State courts on the basis of jurisdictional grounds under Regulation 1215/2012 have to be recognised and enforced in the requested Member State. The regulation provides for a possibility to refuse the recognition and enforcement of a judgment on the basis of it being manifestly contrary to public policy.

However, under the Court of Justice of the EU case law, the public policy exception is interpreted restrictively. Regulation 805/2004 applies to uncontested claims only, i.e. those, which after appropriate notification were not opposed by the defendant.

These Regulations do not create obligations to recognise and enforce judgments from non-EU jurisdictions. Recognition and enforcement of judgments from 3rd States remain governed by national laws of the Member States.

(1)Regulation (EU) No 1215/2012 on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters.
(2)Regulation (EC) No 805/2004 creating a European Enforcement Order for uncontested claims.

Last updated: 14 June 2018Legal notice