Cy pres awards are funds in class action cases that, for a variety of reasons, cannot be distributed to class members or beneficiaries who were the intended recipients. Under the cy pres doctrine, courts can distribute these residual funds to appropriate charitable causes. This allows courts to distribute residual funds in a way that benefits the interests of members of the class.
How Cy Pres Makes a Difference
Throughout the country, cy pres awards (ranging from thousands to millions of dollars) have been utilized to fund vital civil legal services. Such awards can be focused on one of the many areas in which legal aid works, including: foreclosure prevention, consumer protection, or enforcement of fair housing laws. Cy pres awards made to support legal aid can also be tailored to serve a specific geographic area.
In addition to special projects, cy pres awards can also be used to fund operational costs for legal aid organizations, allowing them to provide desperately needed basic civil legal services in their communities. The need for additional funding is particularly acute here, in Arkansas, where there are more than 17,000 eligible Arkansans for every legal aid attorney. The legal community has a special responsibility to ensure all Arkansans have meaningful access to justice, and cy pres awards can make a substantial contribution toward that effort.
How Can You Help
If you are involved in a class action case and are unable to distribute all the funds, consider the Arkansas Access to Justice Foundation as a cy pres recipient. When a cy pres award is channeled to the Foundation, you can rest assured the funds will be used in a manner consistent with the intent of the award. And you can make a significant difference in the lives of Arkansans who desperately need free civil legal assistance for safety, shelter and peace of mind.
For more information, including sample settlement or order language to designate the Access to Justice Foundation as a recipient of cy pres funds please contact us.