According to the United Nations, environmental defenders are persons “defending environmental rights, including constitutional rights to a clean and healthy environment”. Environmental Defenders play a crucial role in the global fight against the climate and biodiversity crisis. However, harassment and even threats against environmental defenders present an issue of growing concern across the globe. This has led to new regulatory initiatives, such as the European Commission’s proposal for an Anti-SLAPP-Directive or the establishment of a “Rapid Response Mechanism for Environmental Defenders” under the Aarhus Convention. Our conference takes these developments as a point of departure to reflect on the multifaceted role the law plays for defending environmental rights. The panelists will present legal-doctrinal analyses of the relevant legal framework as well as socio-legal perspectives on environmental defenders and their perception of the law. Overall, we aim to contribute to future legal developments in the field and to a better understanding of the impact and social functions of law.