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The human right to food should be put into Scots Law to protect people from rising insecurity, a report to the Scottish government suggests.
The Scottish Human Rights Commission believes the move “would help tackle health inequalities”.
Its report was compiled for the Scottish government’s consultation on making Scotland a “good food nation”.
The government said it was committed to protecting internationally-recognised human rights.
The right to food is currently enshrined in international legislation.
The commission said this right – which involves food being accessible, adequate and available for everyone – is not being realised across Scotland.
Food insecurity is “unacceptably high”, the report said, with more than 480,500 food parcels being handed out by food banks between April 2017 and September 2018.
It continues: “Health inequalities are persistent with many people, including children, unable to afford or access a healthy and nutritious diet.”
Before making its submission, the commission spoke to people experiencing food poverty in Scotland, including a mother who lives with her one-year-old son in a rural area.
She said: “My universal credit was delayed and I had 85p left in my bank account.
“I had run out of nappies and wipes and was worried I would have no money for milk or food for my son if it did not come through.
“I had a food parcel delivered recently and I think I’ll need another this week.
“To reach a low-cost supermarket is a three-mile walk, making it a six-mile round trip on foot with my baby in a buggy.
“To get the bus would cost me £5, which would take a significant chunk out of my weekly food budget.”
Commission chairwoman Judith Robertson said: “International law is clear that governments have obligations to take action to ensure people’s right to food is realised.
“The Scottish Human Rights Commission is calling on the government to take action to incorporate the right to food into Scotland’s laws as part of its work to make Scotland a good food nation.
“We want to see the Scottish government showing human rights leadership in a practical way.”
The consultation document states that the option of exploring a right to food which is directly enforceable under Scots law “has not been ruled out”. But it suggests any proposals sit within wider human rights responsibilities.
The Scottish government said a national taskforce was being established to take forward the group’s recommendations.
A spokesman added: “We have also increased our Fair Food Fund to £3.5m this year to continue supporting organisations that help to tackle the causes of food insecurity.”
A baby boy is in a critical condition in hospital after reports that he was attacked by a dog in the Borders.
Emergency services were called to an address in Burns Road, Hawick, at about 16:35 on Thursday.
The boy was taken to the Borders General Hospital before being airlifted by a trauma team to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow.
Police said officers remained in attendance and a spokesman said inquiries were ongoing.
Hawick councillor Davie Paterson said he believed the child was only weeks old and it “could be a matter of life and death”.
He said: “It’s an absolute tragedy and it’s going to hit the town hard.
“I don’t know the full circumstances of what happened but from what I’m hearing the child could be scarred for life.
“I was told about it with the council yesterday and I was absolutely horrified.”
The private company that ran CairnGorm mountain went bust in November leaving behind a broken mountain railway and a failed plan to bring millions of pounds of much-needed investment to the snowsports centre near Aviemore. What went wrong?
From the beginning some people said what was promised at CairnGorm Mountain was too good to be true.
When Natural Retreats – a company until then most identified with running a holiday rentals company – took over, it promised a transformation.
Publicity material said the aspiration was to host the X games, a world-famous extreme sports event, and produce multiple gold medals at the Winter Olympics by creating a world class training facility.
That would have represented a major turnaround for any Scottish resort – never mind one that had struggled to overcome problems caused by the unpredictability of the weather and the need to find a revenue stream that could support a £20m mountain railway.
When the company that ran the mountain went bust last autumn much of the focus understandably was on protecting jobs and making sure there was a ski season of some sort this winter.
But we wanted to try to understand what happened, whether it was preventable and what could be learned from it.
That meant unpicking a complicated web of public bodies, private companies and unmet expectations.
Even working out who owned what wasn’t simple.
The infrastructure on the mountain – the lifts and railway – are in public hands.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise owns them and the land.
Until 2014 they ran the mountain through an operating company – CairnGorm Mountain Limited.
That year they announced that Natural Retreats were taking over.
They were a leisure company who had started off developing holiday rentals in national parks.
The operating company – along with assets like vehicles and movable infrastructure on the hill – were sold for just over £230,000.
We can see from the original tender document that financial backing was crucial to getting the contract.
It says: “The potential operator would be required to provide capital investment to support their business model. Consequently bidders will be expected to demonstrate a credible access to finance.”
Almost immediately bloggers who were critical of the management of the mountain started digging away.
They discovered that the company had in fact been sold to Natural Assets Investments Limited (NAIL) – a company with many of the same directors as Natural Retreats.
Natural Retreats had the lease to operate the mountain – but the assets had been transferred to the wider group.
NAIL was also in debt. HIE has since said financial checks were done on both companies.
In a 2014 media release, HIE welcomed Natural Retreats’ decision to invest more than £6m in the mountain.
This was the key to the deal – sell the operating company and release private capital to allow the mountain to diversify.
The hope was that there would be an investment in the ski business.
But more than that the intention was to develop the summer business too – this would protect the mountain from the ups and downs of weather-affected skiing.
Our research has established that this £6m wasn’t quite what it seemed.
When we sat down with HIE they told us that £4m of that was to be a loan of public money from HIE to Natural Retreats.
Two years after the handover Natural Retreats still hadn’t taken that up.
The company came to HIE and said that they wanted to change the business model which had won them the original contract.
HIE approved a new business plan but that investment didn’t happen either.
Highland and Islands Enterprise told us that Natural Retreats invested about £1m in the Day Lodge on the mountain.
So the whole basis for the asset transfer was never realised.
As we spoke to local people who had investigated Natural Retreats’ time on the mountain it became clear the concern wasn’t simply what hadn’t been invested, it was also what had been taken out.
Natural Assets Investment Limited and Natural Retreats share directors.
There are also other leisure companies registered at Companies House where the same names come up over and over again.
Their accounts show a complex system of inter-company charging.
This isn’t unusual or in any way wrong.
The structure of an operating company and a property company that charge between each other is common in the leisure industry.
But what people wanted to know was if Natural Retreats wasn’t investing as originally planned, was it also taking money out?
That’s where the Administrator’s Statement came in handy.
It’s a document produced by those charged with realising the assets of a company that has gone into administration and settling its debts.
It said that there was a monthly “management fee” paid from the operating company CairnGorm Mountain Limited to Natural Retreats of £40,000.
When we asked HIE about that they confirmed that had been negotiated at the point of handover and represented an industry standard level of fee.
There were other payments in the accounts that stood out.
CairnGorm Mountain Limited was paying administration charges to the wider NAIL Group.
These amounted to more than £2m in the period 2014 to 2017.
That’s more than the management fees that were signed off by HIE as part of the asset transfer.
What were these for?
We asked HIE and they said they didn’t know – but were still trying to find out.
Which brings us to Natural Retreats.
We had a lot of questions. In particular we wanted to know about the flow of money in and out of Cairngorm Mountain Limited.
We put them all to the company – which seems to have rebadged itself as Travel Together in the past two weeks.
They were not willing to answer any of them, saying that relevant information was in the public domain.
They also said that ongoing investigations into the fate of the funicular meant they were not in a position to comment.
There was other information in the administrator’s statement that raises questions about the relationship between HIE and Natural Retreats.
It makes clear what happened when Natural Retreats realised that a combination of the funicular being out of operation and other factors meant administration was inevitable.
HIE entered a process where it was the sole bidder to take the operation of the mountain back over.
It put in more than £150,000 of public money to cover the November wage bill.
Then it negotiated a deal to buy the assets of CairnGorm Mountain back.
At this point the funicular was out of operation and HIE was the only bidder.
It paid over £440,000. That’s almost twice the original price paid by NAIL.
How would HIE explain paying double when the ski operation was struggling to cope with the loss of the funicular?
They told us they were securing important assets for the future and that they had paid a fair price.
They also said that the original sale had involved a transfer of a company with debts as well as assets and that was reflected in the price in 2014.
The agency was clear – it’s role was to protect the future viability of the mountain.
HIE also told us that over the period Natural Retreats was in charge, HIE spent an additional £3.5m of public money on infrastructure.
If the original intention of the handover was to bring private capital into the picture and relieve pressure on public funds then what’s detailed in the administrator’s statement, combined with what HIE told us, suggests that there was far more public cash than private cash being invested.
There is one last potential twist.
When Cairngorm Mountain went into administration it owed more than £2m to the NAIL Group.
That makes the company by far the largest unsecured creditor.
So whatever is realised by the administrators could largely be paid back to NAIL.
Over the last week or so we’ve seen winter return to our mountains with a vengeance.
That holds out hope for all our ski resorts, including CairnGorm.
As the wider impact of CairnGorm Mountain Limited going into administration becomes clear the immediate worst case scenarios have not appeared.
Jobs have been protected, skiing is happening this winter and there are negotiations under way with community groups about the potential for a community buy-out.
Nevertheless, it’s still not at all clear that the past four years represent anything other than a wasted opportunity for a business dependent on public money and crucial to the future of a community that desperately needs it to succeed.
The Herald leads with rival Labour and SNP politicians working together in a bid to clean up a “century-old toxic disaster” on the River Clyde. The paper says tens of millions of pounds are needed to decontaminate dumps of cancer-causing chemicals in and around Glasgow.
BBC Scotland Director Donalda MacKinnon has said the success of a new television channel will not be all about audience numbers.
Speaking ahead of BBC Scotland TV’s 19:00 launch, she said the goal was “success over time”.
Final preparations are being made for the launch of the channel.
Transmissions begin with a specially-commissioned short film featuring Scottish band Chvrches and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.
Chvrches’ singer Lauren Mayberry will be the first voice to be heard on the channel.
The band’s song Miracle will accompany images of Scottish people, places and landscapes.
Ms MacKinnon told BBC Radio Scotland: “I’m certainly not fixated on a particular audience segment at this stage.
“I think it would be folly to try too hard to anticipate numbers – either low or high.
“What we’re looking to achieve is success over time and I guess audience appreciation in Scotland.”
The first programme will be a special one-off entertainment show, presented by Iain Stirling, the Scottish comedian best known for his Love Island voiceover.
Stirling hosts “A Night At The Theatre”, featuring chart stars Lewis Capaldi and Nina Nesbitt, as well as comedians Elaine C Smith and Larry Dean.
Viewers will also see “Getting Hitched Asian Style”, a series that goes behind the scenes with Scotland’s biggest Asian wedding planners and “The People’s News” in which Scots speak their minds on the events of the week.
At 21:00 on launch night, the channel will show the first episode of the final series of popular sitcom Still Game.
All six episodes of Jack and Victor’s ninth series will debut on the new channel before going on to BBC One across the UK later in the year.
The launch night also features a one-off return for cult sketch show Burnistoun as it takes a sideways looks at the world of television.
The TV premiere of the Bafta Scotland-winning film Nae Pasaran, which tells how Scottish workers stood against the Chilean dictator General Pinochet and his regime, will end the first night of the new channel.
The new channel will be available in High Definition (HD) via Freeview/YouView, Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media.
It will also be available in standard definition (SD) on Freeview in position 9, although re-tuning will be required.
For Freeview customers in Scotland only, BBC Four SD will move down the EPG to position 82.
Sky and Freesat viewers without an HD-capable receiver will automatically receive BBC Scotland in SD instead.
The new channel will feature hundreds of hours of newly-commissioned shows, including a four-part drama entitled Guilt.
The show is set in Edinburgh and stars Line of Duty actor Mark Bonnar.
He joins Game of Thrones actor Jamie Sives as two brothers who accidentally run over and kill an old man while driving home from a wedding.
Emeli Sandé’s Street Symphony will follow the singer-songwriter as she travels across Scotland and selects five buskers to put on a concert with an entire orchestra.
The channel will also show a raft of new documentaries such as the three-part series Yes/No – Inside The Indyref, which looks at the opposing campaigns during the tumultuous 2014 vote.
In Children of the Devolution, Scottish journalist Allan Little meets families across Scotland spanning several generations to look at how their lives have been shaped by the creation of the Scottish Parliament.
Also in the channel’s documentary offering is Inside Central Station, a six-part series about the people behind the busiest railway station in Scotland, and The Children’s Hospital- an eight-part series on the work of staff inside the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.
Other new dramas have also been commissioned including The Grey Area, which tells the story of three young men struggling to overcome gang violence and drugs in Edinburgh. The show was largely cast through addiction recovery groups in the city.
Jess Brittain’s series Cliquewill have its second season screened on the new channel and episodes of established Scottish drama River City will appear in the schedule on Monday nights, before being repeated on BBC One Scotland on Tuesdays.
A nightly news hour The Nine and Question Time-style series called Debate Night head up the current affairs offering.
The flagship news programme – The Nine – will report regional, national and international news from a Scottish perspective.
It will be anchored by Martin Geissler and Rebecca Curran, with Laura Miller and John Beattie presenting the news hour each Friday.
Weekend coverage will be a 15-minute bulletin on Saturday evenings at 19:00 followed by a 45-minute review programme presented by Fiona Stalker and Nick Sheridan.
On Sundays, the 15-minute 19:00 bulletin will be presented by Lucy Whyte.
On Wednesdays, there will be a 15-minute entertainment news programme The Edit, hosted by Amy Irons and David Farrell.
Debate Night, presented by Stephen Jardine, will allow a studio audience to put questions to people in power in Scotland.
The BBC’s director-general Tony Hall announced in February 2017 that Scotland would get its own TV channel.
In June last year, TV regulator Ofcom gave the go-ahead for the channel, which will have an initial budget of £32m.
The plan is to air 50% original content and 50% repeats.
Hall said he wanted the channel to reflect modern Scotland.
He said: “It’s a channel that will be bold, creative and ambitious, with a brand-new Scotland-edited international news programme at its heart.”
Between noon and 19:00, the channel will show BBC Two programmes alongside some political coverage (such as Scottish First Minister’s Questions and Politics Scotland) and sporting and music events.
On Freeview, the channel will only be available in HD between 19:00 and midnight.
Yes for some. The BBC says it will be available in both High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) via Freesat, Sky and Virgin Media.
It will only be available in Scotland for Freeview and Youview viewers.
The channel and its content will also be available on the BBC iPlayer.
Efforts to encourage EU citizens to stay in Scotland after Brexit are to be stepped up, Nicola Sturgeon is to tell members of the French parliament.
The Scottish first minister is to address a committee of the Assemblée Nationale during a visit to Paris.
She said she would “always make it clear that EU citizens are welcome”.
The Home Office is currently testing an application system for settled status in the UK, which it said 100,000 people had successfully taken part in so far.
In January, Prime Minister Theresa May announced that fees for EU nationals to apply to stay in the UK after Brexit had been scrapped – although Ms Sturgeon said this was only after lobbying from other parties.
The first minister began a two-day visit to France on Monday, with a meeting with French European Affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau.
She is to address members of the Assemblée Nationale, the lower house of the French Parliament, after opening a new Scottish government office in Paris.
Ms Sturgeon will tell the foreign affairs committee that her government “will always stick up for” the EU citizens living in Scotland, who include 7,000 French people.
She will say: “In recent months we have lobbied successfully to ensure EU citizens would not have to pay a fee to obtain settled status in the UK. And we will always make it clear that EU citizens are welcome.
“In fact in the coming months, we plan to step up our efforts to encourage EU citizens to stay in Scotland.”
Karin has spent 35 years living in Scotland but worries about signing up for Settled Status
Under current legislation, the UK is due to leave the EU on 29 March, whether an exit deal is agreed or not.
In January, Mrs May told MPs that her government was “committed to ensuring that EU citizens in the UK will be able to stay and continue to access in-country benefits and services on broadly the same terms as now, in both a deal and a no-deal scenario”.
The Home Office is currently developing the system for EU citizens to get “settled status”, allowing them to continue to live and work in the UK after Brexit.
This is due to be fully open by 30 March, but officials said 100,000 people had already successfully taken part voluntarily during the pilot phase of the system.
A spokeswoman said the department had “invested heavily” in the scheme, with a dedicated mobile app developed and 1,500 caseworkers recruited.
Scotland’s international reach is expanding, especially in Europe.
Since the EU referendum the Scottish government has opened new trade and investment hubs in Berlin and Paris. These are in addition to offices in London, Brussels and Dublin.
Since 2016, the devolved administration has increased its staff working on international affairs from 80 to 114.
It has had over 400 engagements with European governments, EU institutions and other international bodies in Europe.
Opposition parties accuse the first minister of straying into areas of responsibility reserved to the UK and spending too much time away from Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon describes that as the worst “parochialism” and insists that with Brexit just over 5 weeks away it has never been more vital to promote Scotland internationally.
Police have urged commuters to take care and plan ahead as a band of snow and ice is expected to hit Scotland.
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning covering a large stretch of the country between 01:00 and 12:00 on Tuesday.
Regions affected are central, south west, Tayside, Fife, Highlands and islands, Lothian, Borders and Strathclyde.
Up to 10cm (4in) of snow on high ground has been forecast.
Meanwhile up to 2cm (1in) of snow is expected to lie in lower areas.
Weather forecasters say some roads and railways are likely to be affected with longer journey times by road, bus and rail services.
Police Scotland has issued travel advice as rain overnight will give way to potentially heavy widespread snow.
Insp David Hynd said: “Warnings from the Met Office indicate that showers will turn increasingly to snow on higher ground then to lower levels later tonight and on Tuesday morning.
“Drivers should therefore exercise extra caution while this is in force.
“If you are travelling you should ensure you and your vehicle are adequately prepared for the conditions making sure you have sufficient fuel and supplies such as warm clothing, food and water in the event you are delayed for several hours.
“Charge your mobile phone and plan your route as well as alternative routes.”
Advice on the Met Office website reads: “Showers will turn increasingly to snow on higher ground then to lower levels later in the night and on Tuesday morning.
“Five to 10cm of fresh snow is expected above about 200m with a cover of 1 to 2cm at lower levels.”
It comes after a warning for ice was issued in the north east until 12:00 on Monday.
Meanwhile, a climber was rescued from a mountain in the Cairngorms in “appalling” weather conditions.
The man, who was climbing alone on the Cairngorm plateau near Ben Macdui, raised the alarm using a personal locater beacon at about 14:30 on Sunday.
Former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has been arrested by police.
Police Scotland confirmed that a 64-year-old man had been charged and said a report would be sent to prosecutors.
It is not yet known what Mr Salmond has been charged with. Police had been investigating following a Scottish government inquiry into complaints of sexual harassment, which he denies.
Mr Salmond, who was first minister from 2007 to 2014, could appear in court later on Thursday.
The news comes two weeks since Mr Salmond was at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, where the Scottish government conceded that its internal investigation of the complaints against him was flawed.
By mr ben rory
A Midlothian mother who expressed milk for her baby during a 268-mile race along the Pennine Way has broken the course record by more than 12 hours.
Jasmin Paris, 35, completed the Montane Spine Race – from Derbyshire to the Scottish borders – in 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds.
The vet, who lives at Gladhouse Reservoir, said the race was “brutal”.
Mrs Paris’ sponsor, inov-8, said her achievement was “one of the greatest stories” in the sport.
Competitors spend two-thirds of the race in the dark and carry all their own kit and supplies. They also have no personal support team or runner with them on the course.
Mrs Paris told the BBC Scotland news website how despite having frozen breast milk at home before the race for her 14-month-old daughter, she expressed milk during the race to stop mastitis.
She said: “I had thought I would have stopped breast feeding by this point and tried when Rowan was one, but over Christmas she got two viruses and I had to go back to feeding her multiple times throughout the night to soothe her.
“Although my milk production diminished throughout the race, I did express at four out of the five checkpoints.
“The first night was the hardest for me mentally because I was away from my daughter, but as the race went on it got easier as I got used to being away from her.
“She was very bemused to see me on the finish line and has been very clingy today as if she is thinking I might go away again.”
Mrs Paris reached the finish line in Kirk Yetholm on Wednesday evening having started in Edale in the Derbyshire Peak District on Sunday.
She said that compared with other competitors, she had got off lightly with just a few blisters although her toenails were very sore and black and she feared she would lose at least her big toenails.
She said: “I was worried at the start of the race when I heard other runners saying they had taped their feet up as I hadn’t, but somehow I’ve not really had any problems with my feet apart from losing the skin between my toes.
“I think it comes from all the running I do, it’s toughened up my feet. I was running 100 miles a week in the run up to the race.
“I never thought I would do this race as I’ve heard it’s absolute torture but its good to set yourself a challenge because it’s exciting so I entered.
“I started thinking I could possibly win and it was exciting when it turned into a race and Eugeni was chasing me for 40 miles.
“A man was also popping up along the course telling me our split times, which made it really exciting and when Eugeni was entering one of the checkpoints and I was leaving I think it broke his morale.”
Competitors have one week to complete the gruelling race, which travels over hilly terrain and covers 43,000ft of climbing – more than Everest at 29,000ft.
The Spine Race 2013 winner, Eugeni Rosello Sole, was forced to push his emergency button 6km before the end, which eliminated him from the race after becoming unwell from sleep deprivation.
During the entirety of the race, Mrs Paris only slept for three hours.
She said that by the last day, she was hallucinating on the Cheviots.
“I saw a pig in the heather, trees stretching and doing a morning workout in the woods, workmen doing stretches, a house appeared and I was very cold.
“There is not much of a comfort zone between a bad situation and an ok situation and I was aware I was pushing my limits but I know that’s what happens.
“It was the hardest race I’ve done due to the amount of time and weather wise, but I’m really happy because I gave it my best shot. I raced hard and gave it the best I could.
“It’s been a life affirming experience and it will take me a couple of weeks to recover from the effort and cost it took.”
Mrs Paris did the race during a week-long break from writing her PHD thesis, which she must hand in by the end of March.
Lee Procter, inov-8 ambassador team manager, said: “All of us here at inov-8 are so proud of Jasmin.
“She is not a professional, full-time athlete, but instead a down-to-earth, modest mum-of-one with an incredible talent and phenomenal strength, both physically and mentally.
“What she has achieved in this race in beating everyone of both sexes and setting a new overall course record is one of the greatest stories in the history of ultra-running as a sport.”
Scott Gilmour, The Montane Spine Race director, also said it was an “incredible feat”.
He said: “Never underestimate a competitor whether it’s a man or a woman. It’s the person’s dedication and attitude that drives results.
“Paris is a machine so this result is not a surprise to us, but what is brilliant is she carried all that expectation and pressure on her shoulders.
“She never got upset and was swan-like all the way to the end.”
He added: “The four-day record of 95 hours was really tough and we didn’t think it was possible to beat it due to sleep depravation, its incredible.
“She absolutely dictated the pace of the race, it’s an incredible feat.
“She’s such a figure head and such a champion and she will inspire others.”
The first minister has referred herself to a standards panel over her actions during an investigation into Alex Salmond.
Nicola Sturgeon made phone calls and took meetings with Mr Salmond while claims of sexual harassment – which he denies – were being investigated.
She said it was in the interest of the complainants that she should be examined under the ministerial code.
However, she also said she “acted appropriately and in good faith.”
Ms Sturgeon said: “It is in the interests of the women who have complained that the ongoing police investigations are allowed to continue without any risk of prejudice. That must be the priority for everyone.
“I have acted appropriately and in good faith throughout, and in compliance with the ministerial code at all times. However, I have reflected carefully and understand that it is also important for parliament and the wider public to be assured of that.
“The independent advisers will now be consulted on their precise remit, and advice will also be sought on how to ensure that there is no risk of prejudice to the ongoing police investigation. The remit will be published in due course.
It comes after Ms Sturgeon denied conspiring against or colluding with Alex Salmond over the sexual harassment claims.
Opposition leaders have questioned why she met him after the allegations were made, and why no minutes were taken.
Ms Sturgeon continued: “The fact remains that at the centre of this issue are two women whose complaints could not be swept under the carpet.
“Any continuing commentary about these issues at this stage – whether from myself, the government or Mr Salmond and his representatives – would only serve to distract from and potentially compromise the proper consideration by the police of the subject matter of their investigations.
“That is something we will not do.”
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for a public parliamentary inquiry “in order for the public to have confidence” in Ms Sturgeon and her government.
He said: “Nicola Sturgeon has done the right thing in accepting Scottish Labour’s call for her to refer herself under the ministerial code.
“It is also now essential that the Scottish Parliament is given the power to fully review the outcome of this investigation into whether Nicola Sturgeon has broken the ministerial code.”
He added: “Throughout this process it is essential to remember that at the centre of all of this are two courageous women who put their faith in a system that has badly let them down, and we must never lose sight of that, by safeguarding the duty of care to them and their access to justice.
“We must restore trust and confidence in the system.”