CrowdJustice claims to be the first website to allow the public to fund legal cases. The funding goes directly to the solicitor’s client account then held on trust for the claimant. According to founder Julia Salasky, the law had become too slow to adapt to technology.
Salasky was a former United Nations lawyer. She said that legal aid cuts and recent legislation had made it difficult to turn over government decisions. Alternative routes will be needed. While legal help is quite expensive, finding help from people who sympathize with the case is crucial to re-energizing the legal industry and the faith of people in democracy.
“It is hard for normal and vulnerable people to access the courts,” she said.
“What a crowdfunding platform allows people to do is to come together around issues that affect them and pool their communal interests and resources.”
However, analysts point to some possible problems in the near future. Morag Ellis QC, Chair of the Planning and Environment Bar Association, said the CrowdJustice platform could cause problems possibly due to spurious litigation and costs.
However, she does not downplay the usefulness of the platform especially for environmental campaigns worldwide.
“Environmental law has been democratised, really coinciding with the rise of the internet,” she said.
“Linking potential funding sources with the internet has the potential to become quite big.
“The demand for environmental litigation isn’t going to go away.”