Aristata’s Impact Mission: Create a safer and more equitable world by financing legal cases that empower historically marginalised voices, equalise unjust power dynamics and catalyse systemic change that protects the environment and communities.
Why is Aristata necessary?
Globally there are numerous instances of environmental damage, human rights abuses, gender and racial inequality, minority shareholder issues, housing inequality and other unaddressed wrongs. Litigation offers the individuals and communities affected the possibility of justice through compensation and provides wider communities and future generations with protection from similar injustices going forwards as strong signals are sent highlighting the true cost of the damage caused.
Historically, litigation has been used to solve a range of issues affecting individuals, communities and wider populations. This includes: civil rights; regulating clean water; curbing the interests of the tobacco industry; product safety; healthcare and pharmaceutical reform; protecting the environment; solving issues surrounding climate change; and many other social and environmental issues.
To date the focus of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), public interest organisations, rights groups and the philanthropic sector has been mainly on public interest, not commercial, litigation. This is due to two significant factors:
First, the objective of these legal claims has been to set judicial precedent and amend the law with a view to engaging governments and regulatory authorities to comply with their legal/regulatory obligations and act in the best interests of individuals and communities as a whole. An example is Client Earth’s successful challenge to the UK government over the regulation of air quality in 2016 ;
Secondly, the very high costs of commercial litigation. While NGOs and similar actors in the space are well resourced and funded ($200m spent annually in support of public interest litigation), their resources are finite and they fund predominantly public interest litigation as it is cost controlled (i.e. there is little or no risk of adverse costs awards) there is rarely any return of capital or on the investment made. Commercial claims and the commercial actors that contribute to many of the challenges we face are often excluded from the otherwise powerful application of law in the public interest due to the costs of commercial litigation and the potential in certain jurisdictions of adverse costs awards.
The cost of litigating against commercial actors means that impacted groups often do not have the financial means to seek justice through the courts. Without the financial means to secure legal representation or deal with the risks of adverse costs, meritorious claimants are often left without adequate redress options – a “justice gap”.
Aristata seeks to offer a solution by unlocking commercially viable cases with the power to catalyse positive social and environmental change by providing funding and sharing risk.
Blended Impact/Commercial Cases
Key issue areas Aristata expects to address
- Climate change
- Pollution events
- Ecosystem conservation
- Resource exploitation
Claim against Arctic exploration company for damage to marine environment.
- Refugee rights
- Indigenous rights
- Working conditions
Claim against freight
company for failure to pay operations fees owed to indigenous community.
- Pay discrimination
- Disability rights
- Workplace discriminaton
Class action against company for gender-based pay discrimination.
- Wrongful imprisonment
- Consumer protection
Claim against government for failing to deliver earthquake victims promised compensation.
Within these key issue areas, Aristata will look to tackle to issues brought to the forefront by Covid-19 and the Global Racial Justice Movement.