High Court hears challenge to disclosure of minor offences

The High Court is today hearing a challenge to the disclosure of minor offences under the Police Act 1997 and Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) Order 1974.

The claimants in the case both have two minor convictions which will never be filtered from being disclosed on an enhanced criminal record certificate because there is more than one offence.

The offences occurred many years ago during a different part of their lives. Since this time both claimants have been law abiding and had no further involvement with the criminal justice system.

The claimants are arguing that it is disproportionate to require them to disclose the minor offences committed many years ago as they are not relevant to their current positions in life. The convictions are spent but are required to be disclosed because certain roles and jobs require an enhanced criminal record certificate.

Because there is more than one conviction, the filtering provisions which came into force in 2013 do not apply. These exclude the filtering of serious offences, convictions which resulted in imprisonment and individuals with more than one conviction.

The claimants are arguing that the requirement to disclose their convictions for ever breaches their right to privacy.

Mike Pemberton, head of public law and civil liberties at Stephensons a national law firm who acts for the claimant A said:

"This case is looking at whether it is necessary for an individual to have to disclose minor offences from a specific period in their lives when they have gone on to build a successful career.

It will be argued that the nature of the minor offences cannot justify the requirement for them to be disclosed forever merely because there is more than one minor offence. A more serious offence of the same type would ironically be filtered. This is another case where it is hoped common sense can be applied to criminal records".