Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co

UK 200 2014 position: 28

Disclosure of spent convictions

By Yvonne Gallagher

The Supreme Court has confirmed that the government’s changes to the criminal records disclosure regime last year were necessary. It held that the previous requirement of the blanket disclosure of spent convictions or cautions for minor offences in criminal records checks was a breach of the right to respect for private life.

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 provides that, subject to certain exceptions, the convictions of those who have not re-offended during a specified period are ‘spent’. Spent convictions do not need to be disclosed to potential employers, and employees cannot be held liable for a failure to disclose them.

There are exemptions where convictions are never spent and must be disclosed. This includes where they relate to specified professions (such as solicitors) and to working with children and vulnerable adults…

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