CrowdJustice: Combining public interest litigation and crowdfunding

A London-based startup, CrowdJustice, has emerged and hopes to help communities fund legal action. The startup, founded by ex-UN lawyer Julia Salasky, is a crowdfunding platform for public interest litigation. The group’s goal is to provide access to justice for poorly-funded legal cases through the Kickstarter model. According to Salasky, CrowdJustice let’s communities come together to access the court system and protect their shared values and assets. The types of cases CrowdJustice features could vary from local to nationally-based issues. Until recently, there really wasn’t a means for communities to take advantage of the finances and energy of the community as a whole; typical public interest cases relied on the financial sacrifice of a few individuals.

Article via TechCrunch, 22 May 2015

Photo: 104:365 – a little justice via orangesparrow [Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs]


UK Courts to Develop Internet-Based Dispute Resolution System

Online court proposed to resolve claims of up to £25,000 (The Guardian, 15 Feb 2015) – The UK justice system should receive a radical overhaul for the digital age with the creation of an online court to expand access to justice and resolve claims of up to £25,000, the official body that oversees civil courts has recommended. In a transformative proposal for largely lawyer-free, virtual courtrooms, the civil justice council is calling for an internet-based dispute resolution system to be available within two years. Backed by Lord Dyson, the master of the rolls, who is head of the civil judiciary in England and Wales, the report says existing services – such as eBay’s disagreement negotiation procedure and Cybersettle’s blind-bidding operations – provide prototypes worth studying. The online dispute resolution (ODR) model proposed in the report envisages a three-tier process: evaluation through interactive services and information, negotiation with online “facilitators” and finally, if agreement has not been reached, resolution by a trained judge relying on electronic submissions. Only the judge need be legally qualified. If necessary, telephone hearings could be built into the last stage. Rulings by the online judge would be as enforceable as any courtroom judgment. The report’s principal author, Prof Richard Susskind, who is president of the Society for Computers and Law, said the UK was falling behind other countries that have begun to incorporate online elements into their judicial systems. His recommendations include “automated negotiation” where differences may be resolved “without the intervention of human experts” by relying on blind bidding processes.


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Image courtesy of OTA Photos (Creative Commons)

Supreme Court Caught On Tape For First Time

Protester’s hidden camera captures Supreme Court for first time (Mashable, 27 Feb 2014) – In an unprecedented act, a protester appears to have smuggled a video camera into the U.S. Supreme Court, captured footage of proceedings and posted it to YouTube. The two-minute video ends with a plug for the website of a campaign finance reform activist group called 99Rise. The video’s climactic moment shows a man rising and shouting at the court before being grabbed by guards. * * * The hidden camera video seems to show two separate hearings. First, it shows oral arguments in the McCutcheon case from last October. Then, it shows a Wednesday hearing in patent case unrelated to campaign finance, during which Newkirk stages his protest. Spectators are required to check all electronic devices at the door before entering the Supreme Court. It’s unclear how the person who filmed the hearings was able to smuggle his camera into the court.

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