Crowdfunding: Leveling the playing field.

Author:Nanda, Avnish

Over the past three years, nearly 12 million Canadians will have experienced at least one legal problem. However, few Canadians have the resources to navigate the legal system to address their legal problems. Court and legal fees are major obstacles in the pursuit of justice.

The costs of bringing a lawsuit in the public interest can be even more daunting. Often, litigants face off against the vast resources of a government agency, multilateral organization or multinational corporation. Moreover, the nature of public interest lawsuits requires specialized investigations, research or evidence gathering techniques that cause public interest litigants to incur greater costs than would be the case in a typical lawsuit. The more novel the claim, the more expensive it will be.

Crowdfunding could be one part of the solution. Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising numerous small amounts of money from a large number of people online. The practice is increasingly popular around the world and has led to the explosive growth of crowdfunding sites for various uses over the past few years. These include GoFundMe and Fundrazr, both industry-leading crowdfunding platforms in the United States and Canada, respectively, and Mighty, LexShares and Invest4Justice, crowdfunding sites that offer investors a promising return in exchange for an investment in a legal claim. Donation-based crowdfunding platforms have also emerged, including CrowdDefend in the United States, CrowdJustice in England and LawFunder in Australia, each of which facilitate the donation of funds towards public interest cases.

JusticeFundr is the first crowdfunding platform designed to help Canadians get their day in court. The platform was established to help ameliorate the financial burden facing Canadian public interest litigants. Established as a non-profit, JusticeFundr provides a fundraising hub for litigants to build a donor...

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