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Disclosure of criminal records not required in some cases

R (QSA and others) v Secretary of State for the Home Dept and Secretary of State for Justice [2018] EWHC 407 (Admin)

The High Court of England and Wales has found that the law forcing three former prostitutes to reveal their past convictions violates the right to a private and family life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

The three women were forced into sex work as teenagers and each have multiple convictions for soliciting or loitering under the Street Offences Act.  They were required to divulge their convictions under the regime of the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) governed by Part V of the Police Act 1997. DBS checks are made when an applicant seeks certain paid or voluntary work involving children or vulnerable adults. While the women were not strictly barred from such jobs, they had to inform would-be employers of their historical convictions. They said this placed them at an unfair disadvantage, and put them off applying in the first place.

They successfully argued that this interference with their private and working lives was unjustified by the scheme’s aims and unlawful.  The court held that the disclosure scheme interferes with the women’s Article 8 rights arbitrarily, bearing “no, or very little, relationship to the aim of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults.”

Enhanced Criminal Records Checks