Good Law Project: fantasies and little stupid jokes

It’s confession time.

Twice in recent months on this blog – in February and in April – I have had a pop at Jolyon Maugham QC and his midlife crisis plaything, the Good Law Project.

But I am bad. Because I mocked Jolyon without knowing the full extent of the good work that he has done [Shurely ‘the actual amount of money he has raised from idiots’? Ed]. So, I want to make amends. I want to live my values. To be a good person. Like Jolyon.

Yes, Jolyon has been even busier than I thought. In fact, he’s been so busy that it is probably helpful to break down his frenetic activity into three phases.

We can call the first of these phases The Golden Years, when Jolyon was single-handedly battling Brexit on behalf of the 99.99% of the population who don’t own a windmill, and have never clubbed a fox to death in their garden while wearing their wife’s silk kimono. During these glory years (2017-19), Jolyon or his Good Law Project raked in more than £1 million from 15 Crowdjustice crowdfunders, and won a few times in court, even if the Brexit-related court wins made absolutely no difference in the end. As you may have noticed, the Article 50 notification never came close to being revoked, and the UK left the EU in January 2020, despite Jolyon overturning the dastardly prorogation of Parliament by Dominic Cummings.

Then we come to what we might call the Manic Covid Era of 2020-21, during which Jolyon seems to have launched a new crowdfunder every time he opened a newspaper and read something he didn’t like. I had thought that there were 16 crowdfunders launched during this era, but in fact there were 29 – more than one a month. However, in two cases the Good Law Project abandoned the threatened judicial review so quickly that it never drew down the few donations pledged (£14,646 and £23,005 respectively). So, there were 27 crowdfunders from which the Good Law Project received donations.

Unfortunately, as noted in my previous posts in February and in April, this era was not quite so golden for Jolyon and the Good Law Project. Indeed, what most people would regard as ‘success’ has been somewhat elusive. And the 11 crowdfunders that I only learnt about yesterday don’t make the picture any prettier.

Yes, that’s £3.1 million, and not a lot of green. Furthermore, as I noted on this blog in February, those two High Court declarations are of questionable value. (And yes, in the Cronyism case, co-claimants the Runnymede Trust were granted a third, near-meaningless declaration that the appointment process had not complied with the Public Sector Equality Duty. However, as I noted in February, the judges ruled that “the [cronyism] claim brought by the Good Law Project fails in its entirety.”)

Most of the eleven 2020/21 crowdfunders that I somehow managed to miss originally are closed, but four remain open, including one about the awarding of contracts for PPE that has raised £68,277 since its launch in November 2020, but which has not been updated since February 2021 [Update: this crowdfunder was closed on 23 May 2022, seemingly without anything having been achieved], and one about the Government’s Net Zero strategy, in which there is a High Court hearing scheduled for 8-9 June. And then there’s the case – Bunzl Healthcare – in which the Good Law Project is currently seeking a costs cap and cheerfully admits that “[we] are on the hook for a vast sum if we don’t get one”.

In six of these eleven crowdfunders, the judicial review claim was abandoned or withdrawn by the Good Law Project without anything significant having been achieved. In two cases – one claim challenging Operation Moonshot and one about a Covid public inquiry – the claim was abandoned after a refusal of permission by the High Court. These six crowdfunders raised a total of £306,008.

And finally we come to 2022. So far this year, Jolyon and the Good Law Project have launched only two new crowdfunders. The Manic Covid Era does seem to be over. And this may be because Jolyon has decided that the judges all have it in for him. Such infamy.

In short, since 2017, Jolyon and the Good Law Project have raised a grand total of £4,211,325 from 44 Crowdjustice crowdfunders.

£4.2 million.

NB: In addition to the money raised by the 44 crowdfunders, the Good Law Project receives substantial sums in regular and one-off direct donations. According to its annual report for 2019/20 – the latest available – as of January 2020 the GLP had some 1,900 regular donors, and in the 12 months to 31 January 2020 it received £222,000 in such direct donations. And, according to the accounts and financial statements filed with Companies House in April 2021, in the 12 months to 31 January 2021 the GLP received £1.136 million in such direct donations, and another £225,504 in grants. Just today, a GLP tweet indicates that the GLP now has “thousands” of monthly donors.

[Update, 27 May: The GLP has just published its annual report for 2020/21, and this confirms that, as of January 2021, the GLP had almost 13,000 regular donors. In the 12 months to 31 January 2021, at least 22,452 people made a recurring or one-off donation direct to the GLP. The average monthly donation was £8.77, and the average one-off donation was £31.00.]

[Update, 27 May: Just hours after (quietly) publishing its annual report for 2020/21, the GLP has – with a little more fanfare – published its annual report for 2021/22. This confirms that, as of January 2022, the GLP had 28,500 regular donors. And, in the 12 months to 31 January 2022, the GLP received a stonking £4.216 million in regular and one-off direct donations, plus another £327,000 in “grants and high-value donations”.]

So, that’s an income of more than £10 million since 2017. To achieve what, exactly?

About wonkypolicywonk

Wonkypolicywonk is a policy minion, assigned wonky at birth, who has been lucky enough to work for two of the very best MPs in the House of Commons, and for Maternity Action, Working Families, Citizens Advice, the National Audit Office, the Law Society, and Amnesty International UK.
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4 Responses to Good Law Project: fantasies and little stupid jokes

  1. Pingback: Jolyon’s Raised £4.3 Million Since 2017 and Lost 36/44 Cases – neay

  2. Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne says:

    Superb research. Warmest thanks.

  3. Athena says:

    Excellent research thank you. What puzzles me about Jolyon and his “midlife crisis plaything” is what happened to the money. Wouldn’t you think that superhero Maugham who holds feet to the fire in his tireless campaigning for honesty and transparency would have a nice big spreadsheet online somewhere detailing where those millions actually went? Not a bit of it. The Good Law Project is constituted as a small limited company, so only have to file micro accounts. They spend most of their money on “legal advice and litigation costs”. So, who gets the pot? I’m sure Jolyon will be along to explain any minute now.

  4. Pingback: JOLYON’S RAISED £4.3 MILLION TO LOSE 81% OF CASES – Philiphunt1066's Blog

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