Cy Pres Awards

Cy pres are funds in class action cases (and sometimes other types of proceedings like probate matters) that, for any number of reasons, cannot be distributed to the class members or beneficiaries who were the intended recipients. Typically, courts can distribute these residual funds to appropriate charitable causes, and Legal Aid and the many organizations it supports are appropriate beneficiaries.

The Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara County is an ideal place to direct cy pres awards. Through our grant and scholarship programs, we:

  • Champion full and equal access to the justice system
  • Educate the public about its rights and responsibilities under the law
  • Provide outreach to seniors and victims of domestic violence
  • Protect low-income people from abuse, discrimination and homelessness
  • Assist with unmet needs, such as family law and consumer debt

Since 1959 Legal Aid has provided free legal assistance in critical civil matters. Our services range from the provision of legal information and advice to assistance with the preparation of legal documents and representation in court proceedings. We have offices in Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and Lompoc.

  • Legal Aid’s flexibility. Legal Aid has the flexibility of using a cy pres award to expand our domestic violence programs or to target the funds towards specific access to justice projects. We welcome cy pres awards that are not designated for specific projects or organizations but would support the full complement of Legal Aid’s programs.
  • Legal Aid’s oversight capabilities. Because Legal Aid provides ongoing oversight of the projects it funds, the parties can be confident that cy pres funds will be used in the manner contemplated by the court.
  • Legal Aid’s service to the courts. Legal Aid is relatively unique in that it funds projects of California courts, including Legal Resource Centers that are critical to the fair and efficient administration of justice.

You Can Make a Real Difference to Improve Our Justice System

Thanks to our many supporters, Legal Aid is making a real impact in its efforts to increase access to justice. Cy pres awards have proven to be one of the best means available to help close this gap, bolstering existing legal aid, legal resource centers and providing many new access to justice initiatives. For more information about how you can help build a better justice system by directing a cy pres award to the Legal Aid Foundation of Santa Barbara, contact Jennifer Smith at 805.963.6754