Changes to criminal record checks

David Reid
10th Apr 2013

Recently, the Court of Appeal has held that the requirement of a blanket disclosure of all convictions and cautions under the current statutory scheme for checking criminal records in England and Wales was a disproportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Employment equality act


It upheld this finding on the basis that such disclosure might unjustifiably interfere with an individual’s right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).


In response to this finding, the government has proposed various changes to the criminal records checking system, meaning that old and minor cautions and convictions will be filtered out of the information revealed in applications for jobs in England and Wales. These changes are aimed at striking ‘a balance between ensuring that children and vulnerable groups are protected and avoiding intrusion into peoples’ lives’. It is believed that the draft legislation outlining these changes should be published within the next few weeks.


These changes will not, however, directly affect Scotland and Northern Ireland on the basis that a different agency, Disclosure Scotland, handles such criminal record checks in Scotland, and Access Northern Ireland is in charge of disclosure checks in Northern Ireland.


(Case name: R (T and others) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester and others [2013] EWCA Civ 25)

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