Can I Crowd Fund Legal Fees?

Judith Thompson  03-05-2024

Bringing a claim in court has become increasingly expensive in recent years, and with the changes to no win no fee arrangements, and the demise of legal aid, people are looking for new and creative ways to fund their cases. 


What is Crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is a method of raising funds for a particular cause, by way of small donations from many people. There are several online platforms which provide crowdfunding services, not just for legal fees, but for a whole range of reasons, most notably, sponsoring events and giving to charity. 


Can I Pay Legal Fees Using Crowdfunding?

It is possible to use a crowdfunding platform to raise money to pay your lawyers. 

There are dedicates sites which allow individuals to raise money to pay legal fees for their case, most notably Crowd Justice, which ensures that fees are paid directly to a legal team, rather than being paid to the individual who is raising funds.


What are the Benefits of Crowdfunding?

The most obvious benefit of crowdfunding, is that you do not have to pay all of your legal fees yourself, although if you do not raise everything that is required, you may still have to make a contribution yourself. 

Crowdfunding can also ensure that you raise awareness of causes that you care passionately about. You are more likely to be able to successfully crowd fund if your case includes an element of public interest, such as challenging an opponent who has defamed you for a particular reason which might relate to your colour, sexuality or gender. 


What are the Disadvantages of Crowdfunding?

If you do not use a platform which is dedicated to raising fees for legal cases, you could face criticism or enquiries if your donors become suspicious that you are not using the funds raised correctly. Even if you have done nothing wrong, this could have a negative impact upon your case. 

By making the details of your case public, you might make many more people aware of what has happened than would otherwise be the case. The whole point of a crowd funding campaign is that you have to promote it to as many people as possible, so you should think carefully about whether this is what you want. 

You also have to ensure that you do not reveal any private details or make any untrue comments in the statement you make to attract donors to your cause. Most family proceeds are held in private, and so you could potentially breach court orders if you reveal details of the case. If you make statements in your crowd funding campaign which are untrue, you could open yourself up to a defamation claim, if you cause serious harm to the reputation of your opponent.

In one particular case last year, a mother who set up a fundraising page lost an application to take her children to Asia, as the content of the crowd funding site meant it was ‘difficult for the court to trust’ that she would not fail to return them to the UK. The mother had revealed her own and her children's names, published pictures of them, and made various allegations about the father. She received multiple donations running to thousands of pounds. but because of the father's objections, and the court's findings, she has been prohibited from taking the children abroad for a year.  


How do I Set Up Crowdfunding for Legal Fees?

If you want to set up a crowdfunding page to help towards the cost of your legal fees, you should speak to a solicitor who has dealt with cases funded in this matter, as quickly as possible. It is advisable to ask your lawyer to help you draft the content of the crowd funding page, to ensure that you do not do any harm to your case. 

At Samuels Solicitors, we have acted for many clients who have used crowd funding to pay for all or some of the legal fees they incur in their case. Contact us today to find out how we can help you. 

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