Undocumented children let down by lack of support in ‘labyrinthine’ immigration system, argues report

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   Vulnerable children and teenagers in the UK whose citizenship is called into question are not adequately protected by the current system, according to a report by a team of children’s rights lawyers working in conjunction with Islington Law Centre. When facing challenges to their immigration status, argues the Precarious Citizenship Report, children and young people must be treated as ‘children first, and migrants second’. The report draws on an analysis of 52 cases between 2012 and 2016. During this time, lawyers acting as part of a specialist service called the PROTECT Project worked with these undocumented youngsters attempting to secure their futures. They found that ‘undocumented children and young people who are navigating their lives alone face disproportionate barriers to living safe, protected and full lives’. Not only did the project consider that unrealistic expectations were placed on the young people …

‘The military didn’t fail them. The government failed them’

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   ‘Why do they need to ask?’ wonders Kris McGurk. ‘Why do they need to bring campaigners on board? Why do they need to launch funding appeals?’ McGurk is talking about the crowdfunding campaign he has been leading on behalf of the families of three Scottish soldiers killed, off duty, by the IRA back in March 1971. First approached by members of the McCaughey family after the Historical Enquiries Report came out, McGurk has since been pivotal in bringing the case into the public consciousness once more. The story is horrific, even by the cruel standards of the Troubles: three young men – Dougald McCaughey, John McCaig and Joseph McCaig – befriended in a bar and persuaded into the car that drove them to their deaths. They were shot in the head at a roadside not far from Belfast. Their bodies returned …

Major review finds ‘insufficient evidence’ in science behind shaken baby syndrome

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   A major review of shaken baby syndrome has called into question the science that links the three symptoms to deliberate harming. The study, conducted by an independent Swedish agency that assesses healthcare interventions, has found ‘insufficient scientific evidence’ to assess the accuracy of the so-called ‘triad’ of symptoms – that is, brain swelling, intracranial bleeding, and bleeding in the retina – in identifying traumatic shaking; and that there was ‘limited scientific evidence’ that the ‘triad and therefore its com­ponents’ could be associated with such shaking. You can read the report here. Despite long-standing concerns about the validity of the science behind the shaken baby syndrome, it has become increasingly difficult for paediatric experts to challenge a diagnosis in courts. Last month, the Justice Gap reported on how British defendants were struggling to find medical experts in the UK prepared to testify …