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Sunday, May 26, 2024 | Back issues
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French Court Whacks|Book Review SLAPP Suit

(CN) - A French court upheld the right of academic criticism in rejecting a strategic lawsuit against public participation involving a law book review.

Karine Calvo-Goller, a dual Israeli-French citizen and a lecturer at a law center in Israel, filed criminal suit in France over a review critical of her 2006 book on international criminal court proceedings.

She had requested that Joseph Weiler, New York-based editor-in-chief of the European Journal of International Law, remove the allegedly libelous review from a law book review website associated with the journal.

The Tribunal de Grand Instance de Paris in March upheld Weiler's claims that the court lacked jurisdiction over the case, and that Calvo-Goller abused the legal system with her filing.

The jurisdictional decision was based largely on the fact that Calvo-Goller had failed to prove that the review, published on a website based in the United States, was read online from France before she filed her lawsuit.

According to an unofficial English translation of the ruling, the court said that Calvo-Goller, who studied law in France, had engaged in "forum shopping" by suing in France, allegedly for economic reasons.

This, combined with the choice to file a criminal complaint, constituted an abuse of process, the court said.

The review in question, which expressed a moderately critical opinion, is not defamatory under French law, the court said. It's protected free speech, the court concluded in dismissing Calvo-Goller's claims.

The French court punished Calvo-Goller's bad faith with an 8,000 euro fine (roughly $11,000). Joseph Weiler, who was represented by the Paris law firm Kiejman & Marembert, said that any damages will be donated to a charitable cause.

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