Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Pro bono work and social justice
Pro bono work and social justice

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3.2 Bringing crowdfunding to the law

The legal services market is in a time of unprecedented change and the digital transformation will redefine how legal services are delivered. There are new opportunities to use technology to support access to justice. In 2015, Julia Salasky founded CrowdJustice. It is the first crowdfunding site set up specifically to raise funds for legal cases. The website www.crowdjustice.org [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] details the cases that are currently seeking funding.

Box 4 Does crowdfunding address the justice gap?

One of the first cases to be crowdfunded was on behalf of the campaign group Joint Enterprise: Not Guilty by Association (JENGbA) which led to its intervention in the case of R v Jogee [2016] UKSC 8. This case is significant because it changed the law on joint enterprise. Crowdfunding works by communities coming together to support legal actions they care about. You may want to consider the potential of crowdfunding to empower communities to bring actions in response to significant events. There were a number of challenges to the Government triggering Article 50. The one brought by Gina Miller proceeded (R (on the application of Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union [2017] UKSC 5) and was funded by Remain campaigners. CrowdJustice is being used by Grahame Pigney and others to fund the ‘People’s challenge to the Government on Article 50’ (CrowdJustice, 2017).

Described image
Figure 7 Light-bulb moment

Activity 8 Crowdfunding

Timing: You should allow yourself 45 minutes to do this activity.

Visit the CrowdJustice website and read about the various projects which use crowdfunding.

  • a.Is there a project which you think is particularly interesting?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).
  • b.How significant do you think crowdfunding might be to fund cases that cannot be brought pro bono?
To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Comment

There are likely to be a number of different views on the potential for crowdfunding.

Box 5 Future changes

The Prisons and Courts Bill started a transformative process for greater use of online systems within our justice system. There has been a rapid evolution of technology which is changing the way legal services can be delivered and hopefully this will have a positive impact on access to justice. We live in exciting times and it will be fascinating to see whether we can harness the power of technology to bring about positive change.