The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2013 (forgive me whilst I catch my breath) SI 2013/1198 which came into force yesterday following the judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case of T in January.
Interestingly enough, the Supreme Court has granted permission in the case of T for the Government to appeal and this has been listed in July 2013 at the Supreme Court for a two day hearing.
The order provides a filtering mechanism for minor or old convictions, but is somewhat lacking in clarity or practical assistance for many.
- Cautions will be removed from a Criminal Record (for disclosure purposes) if:
- In the case of a child, two years have passed or
- In the case of an adult six years have passed
And it is not for an offence which is listed in a fairly long document including more serious offences or safeguarding of vulnerable person offences.
- Convictions will be removed from a Criminal Record (for disclosure purposes) if:
- In the case of a child, five and a half years have passed or
- In the case of an adult, eleven years have passed
- And, again it is not for an offence which is listed
- And a custodial sentence was not imposed
- And there have been no convictions for other offences at any other time.
Guidance on the new system was due to be provided but is currently awaited.
While I welcome the fact that some positive steps have been taken in applying common sense, there is still far to go. The new order does not go far enough in the eyes of some organisations to balance the need for public protection with common sense and there is a definite feeling that this has been rushed in since the judgment in January.
Our civil liberties team specialises in disclosure disputes and advice and can be contacted on 01616 966 229.