Fox-clubbing QC Jolyon Maugham faces questions on crowdfunding cases

Fox-clubbing QC Jolyon Maugham faces questions on crowdfunding legal cases as ministers target him amid concerns the practice is being abused

  • Jolyon Maugham is the most high-profile exponent of political crowdfunding
  • He uses the web to ask a large number of people to donate small sums of money 
  • They are to fund a series of highly political cases through his Good Law Project
  • Include challenges to Brexit and litigation accusing Government of ‘cronyism’

A fox-clubbing Left-wing barrister responsible for a series of controversial crowdfunded legal actions is being targeted by Ministers amid concerns that the practice is being abused.

Jolyon Maugham is the most high-profile exponent of crowdfunding – using the internet to ask a large number of people to donate small sums of money – to fund a series of highly political cases through his Good Law Project.

They include legal challenges to Brexit and litigation accusing the Government of ‘cronyism’ in its award of Covid contracts.

Mr Maugham, who sparked a furore on Boxing Day 2019 for tweeting that he had killed a fox with a baseball bat while wearing his wife’s satin kimono after it got into his hen enclosure, says crowdfunding ‘puts into the hands of normal people a modest tool with which to try to keep government on the straight and narrow’.

Jolyon Maugham is the most high-profile exponent of crowdfunding – using the internet to ask a large number of people to donate small sums of money – to fund a series of highly political cases through his Good Law Project

However, Government experts have warned Justice Secretary Robert Buckland that the lack of regulation could lead to money that has been donated for one purpose being diverted for a different one.

One Government source told The Mail on Sunday: ‘There are some big problems in this almost totally unregulated area.

‘A lot of the time people are unaware what exactly they are funding or whether a case has the slightest chance of succeeding.

‘Even worse, the way in which donations can be recycled when a judge awards costs means donations for one case can effectively end up funding something totally unrelated that the donor might have strong ethical objections to.

‘You could donate to fund a case seeking stronger protections for animals such as foxes only to see your money end up indirectly bankrolling a case to make it easier for children to get medical treatment helping them change gender.’

The source said officials were particularly concerned about the increasing practice of crowdfunding applications for judicial review, forcing the Government to ‘waste time and resources fending off unmeritorious but popular claims’.

Mr Maugham was accused of hypocrisy for leading the ‘value for money’ crowdfunded challenge to the appointment of Tory peer Dido Harding as the head of NHS Test and Trace – saying the correct use of public money was ‘fundamentally the issue’ behind his campaign – after it emerged that he has worked to minimise the tax liabilities of millionaires.

Mr Maugham was accused of hypocrisy for leading the ‘value for money’ crowdfunded challenge to the appointment of Tory peer Dido Harding (pictured) as the head of NHS Test and Trace – saying the correct use of public money was ‘fundamentally the issue’ behind his campaign – after it emerged that he has worked to minimise the tax liabilities of millionaires

Mr Maugham represented the super-rich in attempts to avoid around £1 billion in taxes, during which he was promoted as an expert in ‘tax avoidance transactions’.

His clients included participants in the Eclipse tax avoidance scheme which was used by celebrities and sports stars to try to avoid £635 million in tax using tax reliefs meant to benefit the film industry.

He has also represented a wealthy individual who used a scheme called Icebreaker to try to avoid £120 million in tax, and a French financier in London who used the Goldcrest film scheme to seek to avoid around £8 million in tax.

Last night he said: ‘The Good Law Project has used crowdfunding to expose the sleazy award of PPE contracts to donors and to reverse the unlawful attempt to mislead the Queen and cancel Parliament.

‘Mr Buckland’s Government seems allergic to scrutiny.’

Source: Read Full Article