Monthly Archives: January 2018

Cardiff’s High Court says up to 18% of council tax imprisonments could be ‘unlawful’

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap. As many as one in five council tax imprisonments (18%) per year could be unlawful, according to a High Court judgment handed down in Cardiff this week. Lord Justice Hickinbottom outlined that in between 9.5% and 18% of such cases, debtors may be wrongfully imprisoned as a result of simple mistakes. ‘The price of ignorance in these cases is simply too high,’ said Naima Sakande, a women’s justice advocate at the Centre for Criminal Appeals. ‘The judgment has exposed some deep failings in the council tax system.’ Last year, the BBC reported that almost 5,000 people in council tax arrears were taken to court and threatened with imprisonment in 2016-17. Analysing the cases of 95 people sent to prison from April 2016 to July 2017, Hickinbottom discovered that up to 17 convictions were unlawful because the court had ordered debt repayment over …

2018 – Time for a real modern slavery strategy?

This piece was originally published by René Cassin. Buried in last December’s early snow was a report that revealed that the Home Office’s modern slavery strategy is a strategy in name only. Over two years after the implementation of the Modern Slavery Act, this is deeply troubling. The report from the National Audit Office alleged that the Home Office is still struggling with data collection, delays and victim support. Not only have these flaws hampered its goal of ending victims’ suffering, but ineffectiveness has also led to a misguided allocation of resources. What the NAO’s report demonstrates is a lack of cohesion in central government’s approach to modern slavery. Long tagged as Prime Minister Theresa May’s flagship policy, the reality beneath the slogans is that efforts to tackle trafficking and slavery have been patchy at best. In failing to define what progress would look like, the government has left it to local authorities, NGOs and the media to …