Minor offences may stay secret after legal challenge fails


The Royal Courts of Justicesource: The Guardian Law
published: 30 January 2019

People given police cautions or reprimands as children or those convicted of multiple minor offences may not have to disclose them in future after the government lost a legal challenge to the criminal record checks system.

In a complex ruling on four separate cases, the supreme court rejected three of the appeals by the Home Office over the issue of whether those who were found guilty of lesser offences or cautions need to disclose them when seeking employment involving contact with children and vulnerable adults.

The criminal record checks system, known as the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), requires past offences to be revealed in a number of circumstances. These include where the conviction or caution is serious, where it is current and not deemed to have been spent under the 1974 Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, where it resulted in a custodial sentence, and where someone has more than one conviction.

Critics have condemned the system as being too harsh, preventing people with minor past convictions from applying for jobs and moving on with their lives.

Read full article >