Cy Pres Awards

It is estimated that nearly one in five Americans will qualify for civil legal assistance. Cy pres awards can help close this “justice gap” by providing additional resources to expand services that afford equal access to justice to people who otherwise will go unrepresented.

The cy pres doctrine provides for a method of distributing damage funds when the original purpose fund is created. After class members’ claims are paid, a residual amount may remain, and under the doctrine of cy pres, judges and class counsel can recommend that residual funds be distributed to the “next best” use. In addition, when the amount of damages to each individual class member is too small to warrant distribution, the cy pres remedy can be used for the entirety of a statutory damage award. The concept of a cy pres award is that money will go to support a charitable purpose that is closely related to the underlying purpose of the litigation that created the award.

Many of our clients are low-income consumers who are victims of unfair, deceptive, discriminatory or predatory practices involving employers, landlords, mortgage lending and home equity, insurance and health care, and banking and credit. Cy pres awards help FRLS serve the growing legal needs of the underserved.

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For more information, please contact Christine Cook, Resource Developer at Christine.Cook@frls.org