In June 2015, a new crowdsourcing platform has founded in Australia. In comparison with other crowdsourcing platforms, this one is not about raising funds for new ideas, products or problem solving, no this one is something special. In Australia, there are several problems regarding the justice system. Annually, there are more than 150.000 vulnerable people denied from community legal centers. Furthermore, Federal Court fees have become unaffordable for many because of the increasing fees. Therefore, self-represented litigants have risen to 27% in family courts trails. Many justice issues that occur are for instance; housing issues, exclusion from services, credit issues or family breakdowns.
It is important to protect communities who are disadvantaged and to decrease poverty among people. Therefore to set a strong rule of law is a precondition to support these goals. Nowadays, there are many barriers to justice that enhances poverty and exclusion. Social inclusion can be increased by lowering these barriers and improving the access to justice. Now, Lawfunder.org has found a solution to these current problems with a new crowdsourcing platform.
Crowdsourcing has showed that it offers an important way to overcome limitations regarding human resources, employee capabilities or financial capabilities. Due to the Internet, online communities and mass-collaboration technologies, it is enabled to work together with a diverse and dispersed crowd of people to work together toward a common goal worldwide (Ford, Richard and Ciuchta, 2015).
The way it works is pretty easy and logical. It starts by finding a lawyer who is willing to take on your case and listing the minimum fees you have to raise. Afterwards, you publish your case on Lawfunder.org, which then makes the case public to people who are interested to fund. According to Lawfunder.org: “The public can choose to donate to a cause they can put a face to, with regular and live progress updates, and gain the feeling that they are making a difference to someone who can express real gratitude.” Then you hopefully win the case, pay your lawyer and go through the legal process. Finally, you receive the funded money from donators. Although many donation platforms usually charge a certain percentage of fee, the Lawfunder.org platform remains free of charge for all Australian community legal centers.
The platform even states that some donation may attract a return in some causes of justice. Lawfunder.org states that it is a win-win situation, with the individual having an opportunity in making a claim to gain access to justice and the funders gaining in heartfelt and perhaps financial rewards. When you win a case, you can have an awarded settlement money. Therefore, if investors see a possibility of a cause to win, they can ‘invest’ in causes presented on the platform. After the cause is won, you can collect the awarded settlement money and distribute the funds to the lawyer and the returns to the investor. One example of a successful crowdfunding was a campaign to raise funding to secure a visa to reunite a separated refugee family, which succeeded within six days.
Ford, R., Richard, B., Ciuchta, M. (2015), Crowdsourcing: A new way of employing non-employees?, Business Horizons. Vol(58). pg: 377-388