Cy Pres

Please keep Legal Aid of Western Missouri in mind if and when you have the opportunity to direct a cy pres or other court settlement award. The term “cy pres” comes from ancient French, meaning “so close” or essentially “the next best thing.” Cy pres awards allow unclaimed settlement funds or judgments from class-actions, receiverships and some bankruptcies to be distributed to organizations that are most likely to benefit or pursue the interests of the class.

These cy pres awards come about most frequently in class actions with a particularly high number of plaintiffs and a relatively small dollar award per plaintiff. If the case has gone on for many years, as they often do, then it can be particularly difficult to find all of the plaintiffs once the case has been resolved. Courts are most likely to make cy pres awards when the defendant is alleged to have committed intentional misconduct or would get a windfall if it got back the money that was intended to go to the unfound plaintiffs in the case who were harmed by the defendant’s misconduct. Generally, cy pres awards are the result of a negotiated settlement in a case.

Legal Aid welcomes cy pres, as well as other court settlement awards. For more information, please contact Legal Aid’s executive director, Joe Dandurand at (816) 474-1413 x5224;


Legal Aid of Western Missouri may not expend any funds for any activity prohibited by the Legal Services Corporation, 42 U.S.C. 2996 et seq. or by Public Law 104-134 {110 Stat. 1321 (1996)}. Public Law 104-134 § 504(d) requires that notice of these restrictions be given to all funders of programs funded by the Legal Services Corporation.

For a copy of these laws or for any other information or clarifications, please contact Legal Aid of Western Missouri at 816-474-6750.

Translate »