How do we choose our cases?13th September 2021
Good Law Project’s governance is complex. We are not a charity that exists to serve narrowly defined legal purposes. We don’t have the simple logic of businesses that exist to maximise their profits. And, although we must foster a relationship of mutual respect and trust with the public who fund us, we have other stakeholders too to whom we must account. Those stakeholders include our staff team, those we seek to help, and indeed to progressive civil society more broadly.
What we certainly do recognise is an obligation to be transparent about why we do what we do. We value the accountability that comes with transparency: we believe it sharpens our thinking, it makes us better. We also recognise that the act of articulating what we are for – and the transparency and accountability it promotes – is a way that we can distribute power that might otherwise too readily accumulate in too few hands.
Articulating the criteria behind our case selection will help to distribute power from our senior staff to our junior staff. And we also believe that it will help to redistribute back to our stakeholders the power that otherwise flows one way, from their hands into ours.
We publish these criteria because we want you to hold us to them. And we are working on ways in which we can hear from and listen to our stakeholders.
Good Law Project uses the law for a better world. We bring cases that seek to deliver changes with widespread effects. All of our cases must have legal merit – but exactly how much will depend on other factors like the importance of the issue.
However, we also recognise that litigation cannot deliver change in isolation. To that end, our litigation must also have one or more of the following features:
- actual or latent public or political interest in the issue the cases raises;
- address an issue affecting a particularly disadvantaged community;
- help Good Law Project speak to a new audience;
- address an issue which is unlikely otherwise to be litigated;
- enable us to learn from working in a new way.
We will assess proposed new litigation against these criteria.
Our resources are finite and the amount of our resources we allocate to any one case, both money and staff time, should reflect how strongly it speaks to those features.
We also expect the portfolio of litigation we are bringing at any given moment to reflect a proper balance between the considerations set out above. To that end, we will monitor and report on how our current portfolio of litigation meets the metrics set out above. We won’t strive for equality between them – the intention is more that our choice of new cases should be informed by them and that you should be able to see that that is so.
We will also say more shortly about our broader vision – which will inform the substance of the issues we focus on. We expect to develop a focus on how people and their communities can begin to assert a sense of agency about their lives, to be treated respectfully by those with greater power and to feel hopeful about the future. We are continuing to work on articulating this vision – and will return to you when we are able to share it.
Good Law Project only exists thanks to donations from ordinary people across the UK. If you’re in a position to support our work, you can do so here.