The Supreme Court rejected a government appeal against a decision on human rights won by people who claimed that their lives were marred by past minor criminal charges.
The judges found the revised conviction disclosure scheme "disproportionate" in some respects.
People must disclose their criminal record when applying for a specific job.
The government will have to consider reforming the system, Clive Coleman, a BBC legal correspondent, said.
Christopher Stacy, co-director of the Unlock charity, said it was "an important decision" that could affect thousands of people with old and minor criminal records who are "unnecessarily tied to their past."
- Check of disclosure of a criminal record is recognized illegal
The judges of the Supreme Court found that the revised criminal record disclosure scheme was “disproportionate” in two respects.
This was a requirement to disclose all previous convictions, even minor ones, if a person has more than one conviction, as well as in the case of warnings and reprimands issued to young offenders.
They announced their decision on Wednesday after the government challenged the decision of the Court of Appeal in 2017 regarding the legality of the scheme.
The appeal supported the 2016 High Court’s finding that the scheme “did not comply with the law” within the meaning of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which protects the right to privacy.
Shoplifting and Calling
In one case, we are talking about a woman who is called by the court R, who in 1999 was charged with stealing in a 99 pence book store when she was suffering from an undetected mental illness.
She was released on bail to appear before the judges 18 days later, but because of her situation at the time, she did not appear in court, which meant that she passed two sentences, for which she received a conditional release.
P wants to work as an assistant, having teaching experience, and is looking for voluntary positions in schools. However, with each statement, she must disclose her historical beliefs, which leads to the disclosure of her medical history in order to explain them.
In another case, Mr .. was arrested at the age of 11 for having sexually abused two younger boys for crimes involving sexual contact and attempted sexual intercourse.
Police records indicated that sexual activity was consistent and carried out as a “challenge”, in the form of sexual curiosity and experimentation by all three boys.
The royal prosecution decided that the prosecution was not in the public interest. G. received a reprimand from the police in September 2006 and has not been offended since then.
In 2011, when he worked as a library assistant at a local college, he had to apply for an extended criminal record because his work included contact with children.
Police offered to disclose a reprimand indicating mitigation measures. As a result, G. withdrew his application and lost his job. Since then, he felt unable to apply for any work requiring an extended criminal record.
Their cases were considered together with W, a man who – more than 35 years ago – was convicted at the age of 16 for causing bodily harm and was conditionally released within two years.
Due to the classification of this type of offenses, under current rules, the record will never be removed from its standard or extended disclosure and prohibition service (DBS) check. However, the judges allowed a government appeal against W. Those whom it concerns cannot be named for legal reasons.
& # 39; The Scarlet Letter & # 39;
Cory Stoughton, Liberty's director of advocacy, said: “P made a mistake a long time ago and has since been unjustly punished.
"The use of overly broad bureaucratic rules that deprive people of a meaningful career, forcing them to carry a scarlet letter for life, is cruel and meaningless."
Mr. Stacy of Unlock urged the government to take “quick and thoughtful actions” and conduct a fundamental review of the broader DBS system.
He said: “Today it is an important step towards the creation of a fair and proportional filtering system, which uses a more verified and focused approach to the disclosure of criminal record information.”
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