Access to legal representation is expensive and we have already seen New York’s Lexshares getting investors to provide support to those who can’t afford the costly court battles. Now, in the UK, CrowdJustice is a crowdfunding platform which enables communities to fund legal action and promote public interest law cases.
In the wake of the recent general election, the UK’s new Conservative Government is likely to continue the downsizing of legal aid budgets — they have even been considering removing the Human Rights Act. CrowdJustice was established by Julia Salasky, an ex-United Nations lawyer, in an attempt to broaden access to justice and provide ordinary people with monetary support. The platform selects public interest cases — anything from local cases such as challenging a planning decision, to comprehensive human rights issues that will effect the broader public. The causes are publicized on the CrowdJustice website and communities are encouraged to donate. As with most crowdfunding, donors are only charged if the full amount is raised.
CrowdJustice doesn’t provide legal advice or find representation for claimants and it cannot guarantee that cases will be successful. The organization simply provides a platform through which communities can pool their financial resources and fight an injustice. Are there other ways crowdsourcing can help citizens collectively achieve justice?