Stifling environmental dissent: On SLAPPS and GUNNS (R. White)


Rob White


Environmental issues, public participation, social activists, civil litigation


This article discusses the use of civil litigation by companies against social activists as a means to stifle full public participation around environmental issues. Drawing on a recent Australian example, it demonstrates how the targeting of such legal action simultaneously defines the ‘successful’ corporate enemy in the same moment that it constitutes an attack on democratic debate. Read in a certain way, therefore, such writs provide interesting indicators of ‘good practice’ in activist movements — insofar as they publicly identify those parties most threatening to (and thus successful in challenging) corporate interests. The discussion provides insight into what could be seen as effective types of social movement work, while not precluding the need for vigorous defence of those engaged in such activities.


(2005) 30 Alternative Law Journal


Stifling environmental dissent: On SLAPPS and GUNNS