Funding platform CrowdJustice has launched a private, invitation-only fundraising tool that it says will allow a broader range of clients to afford legal services.
CrowdJustice Private enables clients to raise funds in a “controlled environment”, where only the people they invite have access to their funding page.
“We often speak to lawyers who have clients with funding needs, but for whom raising money publicly is not appropriate for the stage of legal proceedings or the specific client,” the site said.
“CrowdJustice Private gives those clients another option – the ability to do a fast, private whip-round in a way that gives them a neutral, standardised way to pay for their legal matter.”
The funds raised go directly to the solicitor’s client account once the target is reached.
Initial testing of the service has seen it used in employment and housing cases.
Chief executive Julia Salasky said: “We want CrowdJustice to enable lawyers to be able to take on more clients. There’s an enormous problem out there in relation to consumers simply not being able to afford legal advice – and most firms can only flex so far in terms of pricing.
“We’ve leveraged the learnings we’ve had to date to build a different type of community – one where you can talk about legal issues more privately.
“One of the lessons we’ve learned as CrowdJustice has grown is that people’s friends and family want to support them when they need legal advice – and enabling individuals to raise funds quickly, compliantly and in a private and structured way, gives a whole new option to help more people access legal services.”
CrowdJustice has until now focused on enabling lawyers to take on more clients in areas of law that traditionally involve communities and issues in the public interest.
The company has partnered with nearly 200 consumer-facing law firms, generating over £10m in legal fees, mainly from small donations.