The Brexit Justice story so far:
1. The problem
During the EU Referendum elected representatives and campaigners repeatedly claimed that the UK 'sends' or 'spends' £350 million a week or £20 billion a year on EU Membership. This is not an accurate claim according to the Treasury, Office for National Statistics and UK Statistics Authority.
I felt that many of the people involved were intentionally lying to the public about how their money was being spent. I considered this a betrayal of public trust and an abuse of the duties of an elected representative. When politicians lie democracy dies; I knew that something had to be done.
2. The solution
I instinctively felt that what had occurred was so wrong that there must be a legal solution to it. I read an article written by a barrister exploring the idea of a prosecution and it encouraged my thinking. I decided that I wanted to try and prosecute elected representatives who had intentionally lied to the public. I knew I'd need a huge amount of money, a team of lawyers, evidence, a strong legal argument and thousands of people at my back. I started with none of this, I eventually got all of it.
The mission was to set a legal precedent in the UK common law that prevents political leaders from lying to the public in future. This precedent could influence the law in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere through international common law case precedent. I wanted to achieve a beginning to the end of lying in politics internationally.
3. Start to crowdfund
The beginning was hard because we were working with a budget of near £0.00. I started with nothing but a video I filmed in a neighbour's garden and some hastily drawn up designs. However, we gradually made progress and improved our page based upon user feedback. Volunteers joined me and together we hit £20,000 very quickly via Crowdfunder.co.uk.
4. Get the press on it
I knew that this would never work unless we got some big press coverage. Luckily I had some experience in this area and the volunteers helped enormously. We were covered by British, French, German, Iberian, Greek, Romanian, Russian and US media among others.This took our funding through the roof. As planned.
5. Raise £100,000 minimum
We met our £100,000 target and eventually received £145,000 of pledges from just under 5000 people. This was more than enough to get us started.
6. Move to London and Recruit a legal team
I set off to London to recruit a team of solicitors, barristers and Queen's Counsel. We needed a team of lawyers to help us explore the existing law, review the evidence and build our prosecution argument. It was my job to find the people we needed and persuade them to work with me.
7. Publish my finances
I had been trusted with a lot of money. I wanted the people who backed me to see what I'm spending the money on. Which is why I publish finance reports as I go.
Public Finance Report 1&2: DOWNLOAD PDF
Public Finance Report 3: DOWNLOAD PDF
Public Finance Report 4: DOWNLOAD PDF (dated up until 16th September 2018)
Companies House accounts: Approved by accountant & successfully submitted on time. See here for link: https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/10520032
8. Crowdfund a salary for myself
After about 3 months of working unpaid I had run out of personal money, bank overdraft and card credit. An incredible backer had let me stay in his empty London flat (he was trying to sell it) for free but I didn't have money for food, transport, a bed and everything else. I had no choice but to ask my backers for help.
I was worried that my backers wouldn't want to raise a salary for me but after 24 hours of crowdfunding I'd raised over £10,000. And we hit the full target in about 10 days. I am incredibly fortunate to have such brilliant backers. I will work hard to make sure I am worthy of them.
9. The investigation and case building process
The investigation of both leave and remain camps in order to build our case was very complex and time consuming. Who were we prosecuting? Under what terms? What is our case strategy? What evidence are we making use of? This was the longest and hardest part of the process so far. I gathered evidence, carried out interviews with interesting people in interesting places, researched, wrote case arguments, debated with lawyers and in general worked to find out what was possible. Over this year and a half period the case got a lot smaller, more focussed and stronger.
The process of investigating and building the case was difficult and demoralising for many reasons. There were very high highs and very low lows. I felt a huge weight of responsibility. What would it say about our country if nobody did anything about what had happened? What would it say about me if I gave up? There was no way I was giving up, I knew there was a strong case and all I had to do was persist.
10. Raise £25,000 to keep us going
It had been well over a year since I had last raised money. I had run out of all serious funding about 6 months before and I needed more for legal fees, evidence acquisition, rent and general living costs. But, progress had become very hard and for a long time I didn't feel justified asking for more money from my backers.
Eventually though, I did finally feel justified in raising more because I knew that we had broken the back of the case and I had instructed a new QC who was in agreement with my work. I closed the crowdfund after hitting the target in just 9 days because, yet again, my backers are amazing.
11. Celebrate! WE have a case!
Newly instructed Lewis Power QC and I met in Brighton to discuss Lewis's reading of my previous case research and legal arguments. He told me that he was conclusively in agreement with my work that our case had merit and that we could go to court. I had worked so hard to achieve this, it was a relief to have finally done it.
12. Prepare to go public and get some rest
I understood that my life was about to change in many ways that I wouldn't enjoy. I had to prepare myself. I had to make 100% certain that all of the evidence was secure and in our possession. Digital security, physical security, web presence, social media, websites (like this one), communications and funding strategy; all of it had to be done. But perhaps most importantly, I also needed to rest and prepare myself psychologically. The legal research and case building was done, this was the time for everything else.
13. Go press public for the first time in 2 years
Our first story went live with the New European:
New European 1(September 6th)- https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/boris-johnson-faces-court-over-brexit-350-million-1-5682332
Eastern Daily Press(September 6th)-http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-faces-brexit-court-battle-1-5682596
New European 2 (September 10th)-https://www.theneweuropean.co.uk/top-stories/boris-johnson-court-case-1-5688337
NoMajesty(September 11th): https://nomajesty.com/politics-update-11-09-2018/
Download and read our 44,000 word Brexit Justice Case Overview Document
15. Lay an information at the magistrate's court
Once the funding is secured we will finalise the papers and lay an information at the magistrate's court to get the court case started. It is vital to raise the funding first, so that everything past that point goes as smoothly as possible. We have to be able to prove that we have realistic prospects of financing the action.