One in three people with legal problems in UK develop health issues – report

This piece was originally published by The Guardian. Almost one-third of those with legal problems in the UK report developing a stress-related or physical illness as a result of their experience, according to a new international survey comparing people’s perceptions of justice around the world. In the UK, 31% of respondents with a legal problem over the past two years said they had become ill, the same figure as Canada and 1% higher than in the United States. Of the 45 countries surveyed, Ethiopia came out highest in this category at 41%. The Access to Justice survey, produced by the World Justice Project (WJP) ahead of its annual Rule of Law Index, also reveals that, of those who had experienced any kind of legal problem, one in 10 respondents from the UK suffered a relationship breakdown and nearly one in five (18%) lost their job, faced financial strain or were forced to relocate. Read more…

Families of three Scottish soldiers murdered during troubles take campaign to parliament

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap. The Scottish parliament will consider the campaign for ‘truth and justice’ on behalf of the families of soldiers murdered during the Troubles. Conservative MSP Maurice Corry has tabled a motion seeking a debate focusing on the cases of Dougald McCaughey, John McCaig and Joseph McCaig, who were killed by the IRA in March 1971. Their murderers have never been brought to justice. On the night they died, having been befriended in a bar, the three young men were persuaded to share a lift to a party. Later, they were shot in the head at a roadside not far from Belfast. Three children out playing found their bodies the following day. Their injuries were so grave that the men, aged between 17 and 23, were returned home in closed caskets. The coroner told the inquest jury at the time: ‘You may think that …

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 …