Like a mashup of Change.org, Kickstarter and, um, the law, CrowdJustice is a U.K.-based startup that applies the crowdfunding model to public interest legal cases which might otherwise struggle to secure the necessary financial support.
Having launched a couple of years ago, this week CrowdJustice announced that it has secured $2 million in funding to bring its unique brand of crowd-backed justice to the United States.
“We are expanding from the U.K., where we launched in 2015, to the U.S., where accessing the legal system and using the law as a tool to defend and protect rights — and hold the government to account — has never been more important,” founder Julia Salasky, an ex-United Nations lawyer turned tech entrepreneur, told Digital Trends.
“The truth is that the law is not accessible to most people, and particularly for legal cases that engage social justice issues, where the law can be a powerful tool for change, the barriers to entry can be high,” Salasky continued. “CrowdJustice helps democratize the law so that it becomes a social good that is available not just in theory, but in practice.”
Cases which can be used to raise funding on CrowdJustice may be anything from small local issues to larger, far more complex ones, such as mass surveillance or the use of torture. CrowdJustice has a team of experts on staff who make sure that a qualified lawyer is engaged for each campaign, as well as ensuring that the money is put to good use. So far, its campaigns have raised $3.5 million in total.
“What’s been really powerful is seeing thousands and thousands of people coming together around legal issues — often interfacing with the law for the first time,” Salasky said. “We are excited to now be in the U.S., and to have the opportunity to give people a practical and powerful way to access the law — and to make a difference.”
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