Parents bring daughter home after misdiagnosis of ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   A couple has been cleared of harming their baby daughter at Milton Keynes family court after an eight-month ordeal. The judgment handed down last week brought an end to accusations of baby-shaking that had begun at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, where Craig Stillwell and Carla Andrews had taken Effie after she collapsed at the age of five months. Just hours after they arrived at the hospital last August, the couple was told that social services were on their way to ask them a few questions. ‘Instead,’ Carla Andrews told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, ‘it was the police that turned up.’ Accused of harming his baby by shaking her, Craig Stillwell was handcuffed and taken into custody. As their daughter lay in hospital, neither parent was allowed onto the ward for a week. Proponents of so-called Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) argue that …

Government’s ‘radical’ prison reform programme is ‘fairly minimal’, say MPs

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   An influential group of MPs has called the government’s prison reform programme a ‘fairly minimal and eclectic set of measures’. The government last week dropped the Prisons and Courts Bill, which contained proposals for a radical overhaul of prisons as well as plans for online courts, to make way for the snap election. The proposed legislation was scheduled to be debated in its committee stage when Theresa May made her surprise announcement. ‘We hope that the next Government, of whatever complexion, will attach a high priority to prison reform,’ said Bob Neill, the Conservative chair of the committee. ‘In the expectation that legislation on prisons will be brought forward early in the next Parliament, we think it is right for us to express our views in this Report on the provisions of this Bill.’ Read here for the latest Ministry of …

Will open justice in employment tribunals do workers any favours?

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   Last month, with little more than a whisper, employment tribunal judgments went online. The new database, which has since archived over 1,600 judgments, is one of the more recent moves towards open justice in the British justice system. Registers of tribunal judgments have been publicly available for many years, but in an offline form. ‘Judgments have always been publicly available but far harder to search for and locate,’ says Kiran Daurka, an employment and discrimination partner at Leigh Day. Searchable and easily accessible, the online database now allows browsers to target specific words, phrases or names more readily. Whilst this goes some way towards demystifying the workings of the tribunal system, employment law expert Michael Rubenstein has concerns. ‘I think it is regrettable that this database allows for searching by name of claimant,’ he says. ‘I fail to see who that …