Two's company; three or more might just bring justice for the public interest.
That's the thinking behind CrowdJustice, a London-based startup that hopes to bring the benefits of crowdfunding to legal cases that would otherwise struggle to raise financial backing.
Julia Salasky, an attorney who formerly worked for the United Nations and the founder of CrowdJustice, intends for the platform to benefit "public interest" cases.
She told TechCrunch: "CrowdJustice allows communities to band together to access the courts to protect their communal assets – like their local hospital – or shared values – like human rights. Successive governments have made access to justice harder and more expensive but we are using the power of the crowd to try and stem the tide.
“Under the coalition government, and we can be sure it is a trend that will continue under the new Tory government, we’ve had enormous cuts to legal aid funding, and legislation that really undermines people’s ability to challenge government decisions. As a result it’s harder than ever for normal people, let alone vulnerable people, to access the courts, particularly when there’s an issue of importance but not necessarily a big financial payout at the end.”
Salasky explained to TechCruch that CrowdJustice could be utilized to raise money for a wide range of legal cases -- from local matters like destruction of a bird sanctuary, to larger-scale public issues like torture or mass surveillance.
“These can affect hundreds or thousands (or hundreds of thousands!) of people," she continued. "There’s no existing mechanism for enabling communities to channel the energy and the finances of the community as a whole, and typically public interest cases rely on a few brave individuals to make massive financial sacrifices on behalf of their communities. We are basically hacking the legal system to enable communities to invest in their future.”