By Tadhg Walker
There is one thing lawyers need to invest time in a case: money. Money is usually the principal cause for a lot of people, even if they have a valid case, to be denied representation. The rule of law is meant to secure justice for all but many are denied this right due to a lack of capital. This funding gap has led to a growing number of crowdfunding sites dedicated to legal services, allowing the underrepresented to have their day in court.
Hiraa Khan, co-founder of CrowdDefend, came to this realisation during his three year term working at the American Civil Liberties Union. Khan discovered the “prohibitive costs of legal representation, court fees, associated trial costs can exclude most lower and middle income Americans from participating in the justice system, resulting in an astonishingly high number of legitimate legal matters that never make it to the courtroom.” According to Khan, 67% of poor Californians’ legal needs are not met by legal aid services, a fundamental violation of the rule of law. CrowdDefend is taking on “impactful, socially motivated cases,” like helping Adan to post bail in the USA where he is seeking asylum, after escaping gang members who were trying kill him in his home country of Guatemala.