Crowdfunding, the alternative way to raising money for legal costs, fees and legal defense
Legal defense can be expensive and off-putting. Besides covering the costs of legal advice, the thought of paying the winner’s costs if you lose makes legal funding stressful and unappealing to many people. That being the case, plenty of people are likely to look for other ways to fund the costs of bringing or defending a court case, including crowdfunding websites, legal aid and third party funding.
When it comes to legal litigation in England and Wales, the basic rule is that the loser pays the winner’s costs. The practice, which is known as “cost shifting” is meant to ensure that if you win your case, your opponent will have to reimburse some of the costs you have paid. However, if you lose, you will not be reimbursed and you’ll probably have to pay some of your opponent’s costs too.
So how do you source funds to finance your case in court?
1. Legal Aid
If your case falls under civil disputes category, then you may be eligible for the government-sponsored initiative, called Legal Aid. The Citizen Advice Bureau and the Civil Legal Advice Service offer online advice to individuals who cannot raise funds to cover legal expenses. They can also connect you with a solicitor who can work under the Legal Aid scheme.
Securing legal aid is no longer easy after the government made budget cuts and tightened the legal aid rules. For your case to eligible, it must pass both a means test and a merit test.
In fact, Rights of Women, Women’s Aid and Women’s Aid Wales carried out a research which found out that 43% of domestic violence victims reported not having the prescribed documentation required to successfully apply for legal aid.
Another survey carried out after the legal aid budget cuts report that 50% of respondents took no action as a result of not being able to apply for legal aid while 25% represented themselves in court and almost a third paid a solicitor out of their own pocket. Such findings reveal the extent of hurdles people face when trying to access legal aid.
2. Legal expense insurance
Alternatively, you may purchase an insurance policy to cover legal expenses as well as legal advice for certain types of disputes. Legal expense insurance policy can either be bought before the event or after the event. “Before the event” policies only cover a future legal action or dispute while “after the event” policies insure legal action or disputes relating to events that have already happened.
3. Third party funding
If you belong to any relevant organization, you should explore the possibility of having them pay for your legal fees. Your trade union or employer, for instance, can chip in or provide legal expenses insurance as part of your membership.
Sometimes you may seek the help of a commercial third party such as an investor for your legal funding. In that case, the investor will finance all or part of your legal costs as the case progresses, and in return for their funding, the investor recoups their investments from the money recovered if you win. If you lose, the investor is not entitled to receive any payment.
4. Paying for legal expenses yourself with the help of crowdfunding websites
If you are ineligible for legal aid, do not have legal expense insurance cover, or find a third-party funder, you’ll have to fund the dispute yourself. Depending on the agreement you make with your legal counsel, you will have to pay for their fees and expenses.
However, funding the dispute yourself on a private basis is often daunting and costly, especially after the recent government’s sweeping cuts to legal aid. Even if you manage to secure financing for your court’s entry, there are still huge costs to be incurred as the case progresses. A better way cover legal representation and court costs is to use online crowdfunding websites such as Leetchi.com.
Leetchi.com helps people who want to bring or defend a court case but lack adequate financial resources to secure funds for legal action by attracting public support and donations via successful crowdfunding campaigns.
Leetchi.com has helped many people in Europe raise funds to fight injustice. Some of the crowdfunding campaigns include: CAGE Gladman fighting fund appeal, launched to object to Gladman’s development projects in Reading, and Harm Hitie appeal fund, helping Diane Vandesmet raise funds for her boyfriend who is facing unfair trial and 12 years sentence in China.
If you need money to cover legal advice or require extra funds to take an existing case to the next stage, Leetchi.com can help you ease the financial pressure!