#DeniedMyVote Phase 1 - Research [Funded]

by Nicolas Hatton and Jane Golding

#DeniedMyVote Phase 1 - Research [Funded]

by Nicolas Hatton and Jane Golding
Nicolas Hatton and Jane Golding
Case Owner
Please give to the ‘#DeniedMyVote is unlawful’ CrowdJustice fund by Nicolas and Jane, respective co-founders of the3million and British in Europe, the Brexit citizens’ rights groups
Funded
on 25th May 2019
£40,095
pledged of £40,000 stretch target from 1,573 pledges
Nicolas Hatton and Jane Golding
Case Owner
Please give to the ‘#DeniedMyVote is unlawful’ CrowdJustice fund by Nicolas and Jane, respective co-founders of the3million and British in Europe, the Brexit citizens’ rights groups

Latest: May 6, 2020

Our #DeniedMyVote legal challenge has been granted a hearing

Dear Supporter,

Thanks to your support, we have been granted permission to take our #DeniedMyVote test case forward to a firm ruling. This page will now close and we are opening a new case on CrowdJus…

Read more

#DeniedMyVote was unlawful - help us challenge the disenfranchisement, discrimination and disrespect

Thousands of EU citizens went to the polling station on 23 May 2019 and saw their names crossed out. Equally, British citizens abroad waited in vain for their ballot papers. They all have as much right to vote as you do, and they need your support. We have witnessed one of the largest systematic and openly discriminatory denials of the right to vote. 

Our right to vote is a fundamental right in a democracy. the3million and British in Europe want to hold the Government to account and we need your financial support to do it. 

All of us have the right to equality and non-discrimination. In European elections, we have the right to choose where to vote, whether in our country of birth or where we live. Our voting rights matter, they are part of our fundamental status as citizens and part of our legal and constitutional heritage, protected by EU law. The time has come to stand up for them. 

What happened on polling day?

Hundreds of EU citizens have contacted the3million and British in Europe to tell us their stories of disenfranchisement, of being turned away from the polling stations (despite having completed all formalities), of councils failing to send or process their forms in time, or simply not having been made aware of having to fill an additional form in the first place.

On the day of the vote, over 100,000 people used the hashtag #DeniedMyVote on social media, showing the strength of feeling about this mass failure by the Electoral Commission, the British Government and local councils.

Why do we need your support?

We need to act fast, so the3million and British in Europe are exploring the options for a legal challenge to hold the Government to account and we need your financial support to do it.  

What is likely to be needed is a judicial review test case to expose the discrimination in all its forms and clearly rule that it was unlawful.

We are assembling a team of experts with a real passion for human rights including Dinah Rose QC plus Anneli Howard and John Halford. Given the scale of the problem, we need to raise £20,000 for this initial investigation. If the test case challenge goes ahead, we will then need to raise over £100,000 to cover the risk of paying others’ legal costs and those of our own lawyers at reduced rates. 

We will also identify how people denied the right to vote can bring claims of their own if the test case succeeds, to seek compensation for unequal treatment, emotional distress and out of pocket expenses.

Please support us in taking action. If you support this Crowdfunder you support the fundamental principle of democracy.

If you were one of the citizens denied a vote, please be counted and fill our short questionnaire at https://www.the3million.org.uk/deniedmyvote

#DeniedMyVote


Nicolas Hatton - the3million

and 

Jane Golding - British in Europe

25 May 2019



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Update 5

Nicolas Hatton and Jane Golding

May 6, 2020

Our #DeniedMyVote legal challenge has been granted a hearing

Dear Supporter,

Thanks to your support, we have been granted permission to take our #DeniedMyVote test case forward to a firm ruling. This page will now close and we are opening a new case on CrowdJustice here.

We now need to prepare for the full judicial review hearing and we need your support again – at least £60,000 of further donations - to get there, to challenge last year’s disenfranchisement and seek the clearest of rulings that discrimination against EU citizens as a group is as unlawful. 

Please pledge to support the case now. With your support we can not only rectify the DeniedMy Vote injustice; this test case will set a precedent in law which will be helpful in fighting any future discrimination against EU citizens.

"The #DeniedMyVote test case asks the High Court to rule that last year’s disenfranchisement was unlawful and establish a precedent that discrimination against EU nationals as a group is as unlawful as it is unacceptable in a democracy." John Halford, Bindmans LLP

 We are living through times that are difficult for all and dangerous for many.

At such times, it is especially important to make sure fundamental rights are upheld and, if necessary, defended in Court, including the right to vote and freedom from discrimination. 

These principles are at the heart of the #DeniedMyVote test case which we, the3million, and a small group of representative disenfranchised EU citizens started last July, having so far been unsuccessful in persuading the Government to accept responsibility for the debacle of disenfranchisement that was the EU Parliament Election.

Looking ahead, we know we have a compelling case to put to the Court.

Thousands of EU citizens shared their experiences of being denied the right to vote on 5 May last year.

In November, the Electoral Commission issued a special report, concluding that “people who were entitled to vote and wanted to vote in the European Parliament elections in the UK were unable to do so. This is unacceptable in a modern democracy. Many of them rightly felt frustrated, disappointed that, and angry that they were unable to vote” and that significant numbers of British citizens abroad were also disenfranchised.

Then, in January, the High Court ruled our case should have permission to proceed and that there was an obvious ‘public interest’ in the outcome.

Despite all this, the Government has fought on – insisting it is blameless and that EU citizens themselves are somehow at fault for not being able to exercise their legal right to vote here. It also denies there was any discrimination built into the system.

Our legal team must now prepare for the High Court hearing to come. They and we need to analyse the Government’s evidence and arguments, prepare a robust response then prepare to put the arguments to a Judge. We also need to set aside money to protect ourselves as an organisation and our individual co-claimants from any claim from the Government.

Our previous fundraiser (now closed) raised over £70,000, thanks to your and others’ fantastic donations. Part of this has covered our barristers’ costs working at half rates, and part of it is being held to cover Government’s costs to date in case we cannot raise enough to proceed to the next stage.

We have calculated the minimum needed for this critical, further stage: £60,000. 

Please make a contribution now. If what happened last May is not challenged successfully, many other rights may be compromised and denied. It must be exposed, not only as outrageous but unlawful and discriminatory. That will establish a precedent that EU citizens will be able to use as a shield as the Brexit process continues.

Please donate now. Help us fight discrimination against EU citizens.


Kind regards,


Nicolas


Nicolas Hatton, CEO of the3million


Update 4

Nicolas Hatton and Jane Golding

July 13, 2019

the3million's lawyers send Letter Before Claim to Government

As reported by the Guardian, the Letter Before Claim has now been sent!

Please help at the new 3Million CrowdJustice page now: www.crowdjustice.com/case/denied

Update 3

Nicolas Hatton and Jane Golding

July 2, 2019

the3million to take legal action

Please visit the new 3Million CrowdJustice page now: www.crowdjustice.com/case/denied.

A great number of you supported our CrowdJustice appeal which enabled us to research and analyse well over 1,600 individual cases of citizens on both sides of the Channel who were denied their vote. We used our findings to get advice from our expert public law practitioners.

Following this advice British in Europe, as explained below, will not pursue further action at this stage. However, the3million will go ahead to start legal proceedings against the Government.  You can support them and donate to their new appeal at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/denied. They need to fundraise another £65,000 in order to issue the claim by mid July 2019 and seek permission from the High Court to proceed to a full hearing.

A message from British in Europe

British in Europe wishes their sister organisation the3million every success with their legal claim although, with great regret, we will not be taking the claim for British citizens any further.  We worked with the3million to raise the money to investigate the claims of both groups and to get legal advice on their prospects.  A great deal of effort by BiE in a very short time went into two surveys of UK nationals living in the EU27 who wanted to vote in the UK, and these revealed that they faced widespread difficulties and that, as we thought, a great many people were unlawfully denied their right to vote.

Together with the3million we consulted solicitors and had a meeting with a QC and junior counsel.  Unfortunately our legal advice was that, although individuals who did everything correctly to be able to vote but were unable to do so may well have a claim against the authorities charged with administering the election in their constituencies, there are important differences between any claim brought against the Government by, on the one hand, EU citizens deprived of a vote in the UK and, on the other, EU27-based UK citizens with similar experiences.  As a result our claim would need to be brought against a number of separate public authorities and would be legally more difficult to win.

We are really grateful to everyone who contributed their hard-earned cash to enable us to investigate the claim, but we would not want to ask you to contribute more to a claim which might well not succeed and which would expose the claimants to costs risks of litigating against several public authorities.

However, your contributions will not be wasted.  The survey evidence and detailed analysis of the law we obtained will help us to call upon the European Commission to add the experience of UK citizens in the EU27 to the investigation they have already initiated into the problems EU citizens had voting in the UK, and to press for a proper inquiry in the UK itself.  And many of the problems for us arise not just in EU elections but in all UK votes, and add insult to the injury of the 15 year rule.  Thus we will also be pursuing a political campaign to try to change electoral law as well as Electoral Commission regulations.

We have also asked our solicitors, Bindmans, to prepare a short “Do it yourself” guide to the small claims court for anyone deprived of a vote who wishes to make a claim against the electoral authorities in their constituency or to pursue individual complaints.  We will publish that as soon as possible.

Finally, we do not yet know precisely how much will be left over from our share of the money raised through crowd funding for the first phase – we are working this out with the3million and our lawyers - but we will let you know what is going to happen to it as soon as we can. Under CrowdJustice’s unused funds policy, we hope to be able to use it to take forward British in Europe’s important campaigning work on electoral law reform and other issues.

Update 2

Nicolas Hatton and Jane Golding

May 26, 2019

WE'VE DONE IT! £40K RAISED IN 24 HOURS #DeniedMyVote Legal challenge

Dear Donor,

A very big THANK YOU to you. We are delighted to announce that thanks to your support, the fundraising for Phase 1 of our potential legal challenge about the #DeniedMyVote scandal is now complete.

Huge shout out to you and the other 1,570 donors who donated £40,045 to fund the assessment and preparation phase of the legal challenge. the3million and British in Europe are overwhelmed to have such support, at a time when five million EU citizens in the UK and Brits in the EU need it the most.

What happens next?

We need as many examples of people having been denied their vote. If you were affected last Thursday, please tell your story at https://www.the3million.org.uk/deniedmyvote or promote the page if know someone who was affected.  

Alternatively, for British people abroad, wherever you live, you can email British in Europe at deniedmyvote@britishineurope.org

Our team of expert public law practitioners and researchers will go through the testimonials, and assess the best legal options to successfully challenge the Government. This will take about two weeks before we can make the decision whether to proceed with the legal challenge and start Funding Phase 2. 

We will keep you updated so please watch this space!  

In the meanwhile, we would encourage you to donate to the3million and British in Europe, as both organisations have limited funds to carry their crucial campaign on citizens’ rights.  

the3million 

Become a monthly paying supporter: www.the3million.org.uk/join-us (from £2.50 per month) or make a one-off donation: gofundme.com/the3million   

British in Europe 

Make a one-off donation: britishineurope.org/2019/03/05/donate-today/  


European regards,


Nicolas and Jane, on behalf of the3million and British in Europe


Update 1

Nicolas Hatton and Jane Golding

May 25, 2019

We've hit our initial target - a massive thank you to all donors

Dear donor,

A massive thank you for your generosity. We have hit the £20,000 target in just a few hours, which is incredible. We are sure those who had their vote denied this week will really appreciate your support.

Now, the actual cost of the legal challenge was estimated at £120,000 but we won’t know for sure till mid-June whether our case will proceed or not. This will depend on the work by our legal team in the next two weeks, as they investigate which legal angle is more likely to be successful. This work will be covered by the £20K we just fundraised.

Because we don’t want to collect funds under false pretences, can we ask you to stop donating until we have the confirmation we are actually going ahead? Please note if the additional funds are unused, the money can either be used for another case of the choice of the3million and British in Europe or used by the3million and British in Europe for our current citizens’ rights campaign. 

Should you wish to donate regardless, we would encourage you to donate directly to the3million and British in Europe instead, as both organisations have limited funds to carry their crucial campaign on citizens’ rights. Otherwise, please hold off donations until we post further news on the case.

the3million

Become a monthly paying supporter: https://www.the3million.org.uk/join-us

Make a one-off donation: http://gofundme.com/the3million

British in Europe

Make a one-off donation at https://britishineurope.org/2019/03/05/donate-today/


European regards,

Nicolas and Jane

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