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Breach of Article 8 ECHR to require persons to disclose convictions

On 11th May 2016, the High Court held that the statutory framework which requires persons with more than one conviction to automatically disclose them to employers violates Article 8 of the ECHR and is not in accordance with the law.

The background to this case is that the applicant was convicted of a number of seat belt related offences. 

In July 2015, Mr Justice Treacy held that the statutory framework that provides for the automatic disclosure of criminal convictions to employers is unlawful.  This is because persons with more than one minor conviction will have their convictions disclosed forever, while those with only one minor conviction will have it expunged from the records after 11 years.  He also found that the statutory framework violates Article 8 of the ECHR because it does not permit consideration of the relevance of the information to be disclosed or proportionality of the disclosure.  The Department of Justice appealed the decision of the High Court.  On 8th March 2016 the Court of Appeal remitted the decision back to Mr Justice Treacy for further consideration of the legislation.

Mr Justice Treacy found that the Rehabilitation of Offenders (Exceptions) (NI) Order 1979 violates Article 8 of the ECHR since the interference with the applicant’s rights fails the test of ‘necessity.’  Part V of The Police Act 1997 was also considered to violate Article 8.

The Court of Appeal will now consider the respondent’s appeal.

Read case summary here.

Tags
Criminal Law, Disclosure, ECHR Art. 8