Court of Appeal Rules Criminal Record Checks Are Against Human Rights

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Lord Dyson, Master of the Rolls, has delivered a ruling in The Court of Appeal that the current system which requires the disclosure of all criminal convictions, cautions and warnings no matter how old or irrelevant is disproportionate and incompatible with an individual’s human rights. This ruling could throw the entire system of checking criminal records into the air. The case involved a 21 year old man, known as T, who applied for a part-time role in a football club and was forced to disclose the fact that he had received warnings from the Greater Manchester Police for stealing two bicycles at the age of 11. The Court stated that T “was a man of good character” apart from the warnings he had when he was a child. The football club requested an Enhanced Criminal Record Certificate for T as he was likely to work with children. T’s lawyer said “you can’t argue that something you did when you were 11 years old will blight you for the rest of your life.” This ruling could mean that job applicants will no longer have to disclose all their criminal records when applying for specific jobs. Lord Dyson said: “We are willing to direct that our decision shall not take effect pending determination by the Supreme Court of an application by the Secretaries of State for permission to appeal.” Lord Dyson called for a system of “filtering” to be introduced to permit irrelevant criminal records to be removed and suggested that it would be down to the Government to devise a proportionate scheme.

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