The future of public interest litigation?

Screen Shot 2015-05-22 at 10.37.51These are difficult times for bringing public interest legal cases. The withdrawal of legal aid from many areas has meant that it has become a lot more difficult to fund cases. And the lawyers who are the experts in this kind of litigation are finding it harder and harder to keep practising in the area. 

So bravo to a new initiative, CrowdJustice, a crowdfunding  platform for public interest litigation. For those who don’t know about crowdfunding, it has been a huge success for other kinds of projects through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. CrowdJustice is already fundraising for its first case, Torres v BP and Others, and there is a nice video on the site which has been cross posted by The Guardian.

Crowdfunding isn’t going to replace Legal Aid, nor is it going to become the main or perhaps even a major source of public interest litigation funding. But in cases that interest the public (is that the same as public interest?), it could become a really important resource. In the age of social media, a cleverly pitched campaign can raise a decent amount of money quickly. And wouldn’t it be interesting if someone could figure out a way of building a kind of crowd funded conditional fee agreement, whereby people get back their money or even a share of the damages if the case is successful?

Good for CrowdJustice – go to the site, share, and if you want to, contribute!

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