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An acquittal isn't always the end of the matter following a criminal allegation

View profile for Mike Pemberton
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The Manchester Evening News has recently reported details of a case in which an ex-teacher has been acquitted of allegations of a sexual nature.

For many, acquittal at a criminal trial is seen as the end of a stressful ordeal and an opportunity to move on in life.

Unfortunately it is not always this simple and there can be repercussions from allegations and even acquittals in respect of certain types of employment.

The Disclosure and Barring Service (as the name suggests) deal with issues of criminal records disclosure and consideration of whether individuals should be added to the children’s or vulnerable adult’s barring lists.


An allegation or behaviour is sufficient for the DBS to consider whether it is appropriate to bar somebody from undertaking a regulated activity with children or vulnerable adults. They have to be satisfied that a regulated activity is being, has been or will be undertaken and that there is a risk of harm to an individual child or vulnerable adult by the person whom is being considered.

An allegation may be sufficient to raise consideration of barring as would dismissal from a position in which regulated activity is being undertaken. A conviction for specified offences may also lead to an entry onto the barred list.

Disclosure of criminal records.

When you apply for certain jobs or certain roles, a ‘criminal record certificate’ may be requested.

There are different levels of criminal record certificate including:

  • A basic criminal record certificate.
  • A standard criminal record certificate
  • An enhanced criminal record certificate

A basic criminal record certificate will show any unspent convictions whilst a standard criminal record certificate will show both spent and unspent convictions but is subject to filtering provisions which will weed out offences after a period of time unless they are on a non-filter list, there is more than one or a period of imprisonment has been imposed.

An enhanced certificate will provide details of both spent and unspent convictions and additional information that the police feel is relevant to the position that you are applying for. 

This may include information on an acquittal or an allegation that has been made.

An enhanced certificate may also contain information on whether you are subject to barring as mentioned above.

The case of ‘AR and Chief Constable Greater Manchester Police & others’  is due to be considered further in the Supreme Court on Monday 23rd April 2018 following an initial hearing in November last year. This case involves consideration of whether the disclosure of an allegation of rape and the acquittal breaches the claimant’s rights to privacy under Article 8 under the European Convention on Human Rights.

It is the first time the Supreme Court have considered disclosure of discretionary information since 2010.

The filtering provisions are also currently under further challenge following the introduction after the case of T v Chief Constable Greater Manchester which I acted in.

Clearly the right to be forgotten in respect of previous behaviour, criminal convictions and acquittals is a hot topic and subject to ongoing judicial scrutiny.

Our Disclosure and Barring dispute team have a wealth of experience dealing with disclosure disputes, requests for review and challenges to determinations up to the Supreme Court level. We also regularly prepare representations against barring and advise on relevant procedures including appeals to the upper tribunal.

If you require any assistance in these matters then please do not hesitate to contact us on 01616 966 229.