The costs associated with seeking judicial review of the Stonehenge Decision and the fundraising process

We need to raise a minimum of £50,000 for the judicial review – it’s just the way that CrowdJustice is set up that you have an initial target and a stretch target (which we can change btw). If you don’t get over your initial target in 30 days, you don’t get anything. We’ve reached our initial target (in less than 60 hours) so we’re fine and everything we raise now goes direct to the lawyers to look after and who will also be reassured we can raise the funds and therefore put the time in to create a good case. So while we need to push on, we haven’t got any immediate time pressure. The 30 days by the way is a rolling target now and will just keep extending until we stop it.

In terms of messaging I’ve been saying the £25k was an initial target which we needed to pass in order to be able to kick off the action (pay for all the preparation work). We now need to get to £50k so that we can actually get the case to court.

If we should fail in our challenge then we will probably need to raise further funds for an appeal (subject to having good grounds) which is when we can take advantage of changing the stretch target to raise the total needed. Even if we win, we’ll probably need to defend an appeal by the Government as I can’t see the Government backing down over this.

In the event we win and there is no appeal, or we lose and cannot appeal then we would not need to raise any more than £50,000. As it says on the CrowdJustice page: If we are able to raise more than this, funds will be ring-fenced to cover any additional unforeseen legal costs, including any potential appeal, our wider costs for this case, and to support other heritage or road campaigns in the courts and planning system.

At this point in time it doesn’t make sense to be aiming for raising more than £50,000 as it may not be needed. However, there is a chance that the Government might seek a higher costs cap than the usual £10,000 limit because of the involvement of bigger organisations like Friends of the Earth and CPRE with the Stonehenge Alliance, even though the Alliance has been financially independent for many years. However, we won’t know that until a judge rules on whether we have a case and rules on costs. Obviously if the judge rules on a higher costs cap we would need to raise the stretch target appropriately, e.g. a £20,000 costs cap would mean we need to raise £60,000 instead of £50,000.

In terms of any big donors, if you know any we should encourage them to hold back giving just yet and see how things pan out with the crowdfunder. Equally, if we are talking substantial amounts, say £500 plus, it makes more sense for those people to donate directly to the company as that saves paying CrowdJustice fees plus it gives us more control over how the money is spent in case we need to pay for expert witnesses or other non-legal costs such as for publicity and general campaigning.

Please share