G20 Legal Defence Fund Information and Resources

In Uncategorized on January 9, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Frequently Asked Questions for G20 Defendants interested in the G20 Legal Defence Fund:

1) What is the purpose of the Fund?
The G20 Legal Defense Fund exists to hold and give out funds raised to support legal costs, fees, and other associated costs of legal defense for people facing charges stemming from the June 2010 Toronto G20 Summit.  The Fund strives to support those individuals who took to the streets and organized in protest of the G20 summit.  The Fund is accountable to defendants, to the larger post-G20 social movement, and to the public as a whole. We believe that building movements where we support each other strengthens the struggle for social justice.
The fund is run based on the following principles:
1. All accused are presumed innocent.
2. No discrimination against accused people based on their charges, or on the outcome of their charges.
3. Money will be disbursed based on the criteria of risk, and financial need, with the recognition that some groups face oppression, prejudice, and disproportionate challenges when engaging with the criminal justice system.

2) Who can apply?
Anyone who currently faces or at one time faced charges stemming from the G20 events in Toronto last June can apply.

3) What is the timeline for applying, and for funds being given out?
• April 1, 2012 Application forms will start to be circulated and accepted.
• June 1, 2012 Deadline for applications to be received at the office of Paul Copeland – the G20 Legal Defence Fund Trust Attorney.
• July 1, 2012 Decisions by G20 Legal Defence Fund to be announced and communicated.
• July 31, 2012 Deadline to appeal decisions by G20 Trust Fund.
• September 1, 2012 Decisions on appeals communicated.

4) How do I apply?
An application form can be downloaded here.

The form and all required supporting documentation must be mailed and received before June 1, 2012.

Applications must be mailed to:
G20 Legal Defence Fund
℅ Paul Copeland, Barrister and Solicitor                                                                                                                                                                                             Copeland Duncan
31 Prince Arthur Ave
Toronto, Ontario M5R 1B2

5) How are decisions on funding made?
Two groups of people are involved in making these decisions: the G20 Legal Defence Fund Committee, and the Board of Trustees.  The completed applications will be reviewed by the Committee, with assistance from movement lawyers. Based on the answers and explanations given, each participant will get two scores: one for overall risk, and one for overall financial need.  People with higher scores will get a higher portion of the money requested than people with lower scores.  Based on these scores, the Committee will make recommendations for giving out funds.  The Trustees will then review these recommendations to ensure that they follow the principles and rules of the Fund, and approve them, or request revisions from the Committee if necessary.

6) Who is making the decisions?
The members of the Board of Trustees were chosen for their reputation within the movement and for their commitment to supporting those facing charges. They are:
• Shelley Gavigan, Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
• Ed Broadbent, Founding President of Rights and Democracy
• Winnie Ng, Sam Gindin Chair for Social Justice, Ryerson University
• Mark Calzavara, Regional Organizer, Council of Canadians
• Deena Ladd, Coordinator, Workers Action Centre*
• Anna Willats, Community Activist and Professor George Brown College
• Lesley Wood, Associate Professor, York University
*Organizations for identification purposes only

The Committee is made up of the following members:
• Six voting representatives, representing the interest of defendants: Victoria Barnett, Imran Kaderdina, Sonja Killoran-McKibbin, Matthew Hayter, Marika Heinrichs, Mohan Mishra.
• Two voting representatives from the Board of Trustees: Mark Calzavara and Anna Willats.
• One voting member from OPIRG York: Sharmeen Khan.                                                                                                                                                           • One non-voting Ontario Law Union Movement Defense Committee representative: Mac Scott and one non-voting member from the Community Solidarity Network’s Fundraising Committee: Jean Halfyard.

7) Is the process confidential?
All applications will be kept completely confidential.  Application forms will have the front page with identifying information (names, address, contact info, etc.) removed, and names will be redacted on supporting paperwork.  Each application will be given a number, and the information on the identity of each applicant won’t ever be linked with the form until after the decision is made.
The copies of the supporting material will have the names blacked out.  At this point, the Trust Attorney will be told the number and will issue the decision.  Lastly, all discussions that take place between the Committee, Trustees, or lawyers are confidential.

8. Can I appeal a decision?                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes. If you disagree with a decision, appeals can be made directly to the Trustees, who will review and decide on any appeal requests.

9) How many people are still facing charges?
There are approximately 20 people who are still facing charges. However, people whose charges have been resolved, are still eligible to apply to the Fund for costs incurred in their defence.

10) Why is this process taking so long?
We know that this has been frustrating – especially for folks who need small but essential money for transportation and other things. We also know that the costs will continue to grow over the coming years, as some cases may take up to two years to get to court. With that in mind, we’ve been trying to set up a clear process that will:
1. Give people confidence that the funds are being managed in a transparent and fair way.
2. Encourage more donations.
3. Ensure that the decisions are fair and appropriate – ensuring those that need the funds most are able to access it.

11) How can I help fundraise?
Many individuals and organizations have put countless hours into raising money for the Defence Fund.  If you can help out, please email the CSN Fundraising Committee at: events.g20solidarity@gmail.com.  You can also donate money by sending a cheque to G20 Legal Defence Fund, c/o Paul Copeland, Copeland Duncan, 31 Prince Arthur Avenue, Toronto, ON M5R 1B2.  Please make the cheque out to: “G20 Legal Defence Fund”.

12) If I have legal aid, can I still apply?
Yes, of course.  But your need for funds will be less, so your application will be considered taking that into account.

13) What costs are eligible?
Funds are available for a wide variety of people’s needs around legal defence – these include legal fees for criminal charges, bail hearings, bail variations, trial preparation, pre-trial meetings, constitutional motions, trial preparation, legal fees for G20-related immigration and child custody issues, travel costs, and other expenses.  If you have incurred costs as a result of having faced G20-related charges, applicants are encouraged to apply for funds to reimburse those costs.

14) Will all my costs be covered?
Probably not. With costs being estimated at $80,000 for a single person facing a conspiracy charge, we know that we won’t be able to fund everyone’s needs.  This is why the process is so lengthy, and frustrating.

15) Where is the money coming from?
From everywhere.  From individuals, unions, bake sales, t-shirt sales, pocket money, benefit shows and more. People are digging deep to try to help out.

16) Once a decision has been made, how do I get money from the fund?
Once a decision has been made, you can start accessing money from the fund that has been awarded to you.  However, in order to receive money from the fund, you must provide receipts for old expenses or invoices for upcoming expenses (like lawyers’ retainer fees).  You will be reimbursed for those receipts and invoices up to the total amount that has been awarded to you.

If you have any questions or would like any additionl information please email us at g20legaldefencefund@gmail.com

If you are interested in donating to the G20 Legal Defence Fund, please click on this link for Frequently Asked Questions for Donors

If you are interested in reading more specifics about how the Fund is managed, please click on this link for the G20 Legal Defence Fund Memorandum of Understanding

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