Crowdsourcing a legal defence is creative, but raises issues

Jan 18, 2016 By Matthew Friedberg

Using a crowdsourcing website to raise money to help pay for legal fees associated with a criminal defence is an innovative approach to improve access to justice for some people, but it could raise moral questions, says Toronto criminal lawyer Matthew Friedberg.  "I think it makes justice more affordable to people; it’s very creative," he tells "It makes sense that if someone has a compelling social justice issue they would reach out to the public for help." But, he adds, "There’s no way to police this."

Friedberg weighs in on the issue generally after it became public that a former Ontario premier's senior aide, who is facing criminal charges related to the destruction of government documents, is using such a website to try to raise $100,000 for her legal defence, reports the Canadian Press. 

Laura Miller, Dalton McGuinty's former deputy chief of staff, has been charged with breach of trust and mischief in connection with the "deletion of emails relating to the Liberals' decision to cancel two gas-fired electrical generating stations prior to the 2011 election," says the wire service. David Livingston, the former chief of staff, has been charged with the same offences, says the report.

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