The future of public interest litigation?

If only we could unite behind this initiative! How many cases against how many police forces, local councils and other public “services” could we fund?

UK Human Rights Blog

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…

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About Sabine Kurjo McNeill

I'm a mathematician and system analyst formerly at CERN in Geneva and became an event organiser, software designer, independent web publisher and online promoter of Open Justice. My most significant scientific contribution is
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12 Responses to The future of public interest litigation?

  1. Anonymous says:

    “If only we could unite behind this initiative! “???
    Ha bloody Ha! Don’t be taken in by this blatant plug. It is an advert by the 150 lawyers at 1 Crown Office Row, of London & Brighton, as a way of conning victims of corrupt lawyers into making up what they are losing from the taxpayer with the lessening of legal aid.
    Philip Havers QC is head of the London chambers. Google his name, & ‘1 Crown Office Row’.
    Then consider if ANY of them are going to rock the gravy boat of the Legal/Judicial Mafia.
    They are not the solution – they are the PROBLEM!

  2. Re ‘Legal/Judicial Mafia’ (earlier message). I am NOT Anonymous. My name is Norman Scarth. Go to Youtube & type my name.

    • T Birks says:

      Re ‘Legal/Judicial Mafia’ .. .. that’s exactly what Norman would say. I campaigned for years to keep your name alive and wrote to many MP’s, guess what? .. they didn’t want to know, .. well we know we shouldn’t be surprised at that. .. I have often wondered if you ever cashed the cheque and signed the deed of sale. A true man of the people.

    • This Comment does not concern this subject. Please excuse me for using it as a test. My Comment to ANOTHER site appeared under someone else’s name.
      I make THIS Comment to see if the same thing happens here.
      Norman Scarth. .

      • I see when I comment on other people’s blogs that I’m given the option whether to post as ANONYMOUS or via some other ‘platform’ with which I registered, Norman.

        Trust me: WordPress is NOT against you!

        You just pressed the POST COMMENT button before you could change from ‘Anonymous’ to your ‘identity’.

  3. Ann says:

    Even with funding, some litigants with ‘sensitive’ cases can’t find any lawyer to take them on because it would be ‘professional suicide’. How is that situation to be rectified?


    For anyone who wishes, here is a template email you can just add your signature to & send:

    Kathryn Hudson – Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards
    Telephone: 020 7219 0320


    Dear Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards:

    RE: Request for an ethics inquiry into the conduct of four serving MPs:

    1) Dr Julian Lewis MP
    2) Peter Lilley MP
    3) Peter Bottomley MP
    4) Sir Edward Leigh MP

    It has been alleged that the MPs above were knowingly involved – either as perpetrators, accessories or both – in a national Child Sex Trafficking operation and organised Child Sexual Abuse that saw vulnerable adolescents (legal minors) trafficked to Westminster from the Bryn Alyn Community children’s homes in North Wales to be sexually assaulted by MPs at addresses in London.

    Specific charges relating to the above were made against Messrs Lewis, Lilley, Bottomley and Leigh – by child abuse victims/survivors, whistle-blowers and eyewitnesses – to journalists working on a print title of the 1990s called Scallywag.

    The editorial team at Scallywag duly reported the children’s allegations of MPs’ involvement in Child Sex Trafficking and organised Child Sexual Abuse to its readers located throughout the United Kingdom.

    The MPs Lewis, Lilley, Bottomley and Leigh did not litigate to disprove the allegations.

    Allegations of criminal conduct are of course a matter for the police, who have naturally been notified of Scallywag’s reports and findings. (On this score it is our understanding that current police investigations are indeed looking at whether MPs engaged in criminal Child Sex Trafficking and organised Child Sexual Abuse over a sustained period.)

    But what the police cannot investigate is whether the MPs concerned behaved in accordance with accepted standards of ethics to which the public rightly holds its elected representatives.

    We believe an investigation into whether the relevant MPs’ conduct met the accepted ethical standards can only be addressed by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards. As such, we are writing to you to request an urgent ethics inquiry into the four serving MPs identified above: namely Julian Lewis MP, Peter Lilley MP, Peter Bottomley MP and Sir Edward Leigh MP.

    Please view here the original Scallywag articles, which set out in some detail the specific allegations of unethical conduct against the MPs concerned:

    Thank you for considering our request for an investigation. May we wish you all peace and happiness this festive season, and we look forward to receiving your response in due course.

    Merry Christmas,

    [your name here, or email anonymously if you aren’t comfortable including your name]

  5. peter oakes says:

    I suggest you read book by Gerald James. called ” In the Public Interest ” Gerald
    is a “Victim ” of the “Legal Jewdicial cum Judicial Mafia” that secretly enslaves All
    of us !

    You will find all the corruption you need in ” The Scott Report ” Neil Hamilton
    lawyer & fraudster, Mark Thatcher, Jonathan Aitken who placed his faith in
    the “Trusty Sword of Truth ” then got convicted for perjury !

    The major problem is these vast thefts & frauds seem un-believable ! and
    the gullible public wont believe. RBS, Nothern Rook, HBOS, Clydesdale Bank,
    Bradford & Bingley, the Co-Op bank run by a screaming perverted
    baptist minister fueled by drugs and boys rectums. But Joe Public
    prefers Emmerdale, Come Dancing and other trivia pumped
    out by corrupted journalist and the Media !

    Now if this Firm of Lawyers will take a Pro-Bono case we will see
    the truth ? In my case they cannot loose, unless the judge is deaf,
    dumb & a blind freemason

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