Secretaries of States’ appeal dismissed by The Court of Appeal

03.05.17 | |

The Court of Appeal have dismissed the Secretaries of States’ appeal against declarations granted in the courts below that the revised scheme of disclosure of criminal records is incompatible with the Claimants Article 8 ECHR rights.


Following the decision of the Court of Appeal in 2013 in the case of R (T) v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and others (and upheld in the Supreme Court in 2014) that the then wholly indiscriminatory disclosure scheme for criminal convictions and cautions under Part V of the Police Act 1997 was incompatible with Article 8, the government introduced a revised scheme in 2013 which enabled certain convictions and cautions to be ‘filtered’ from disclosure. 

Under the new scheme however the three cases under appeal were all subject to mandatory disclosure of convictions and cautions:  in P’s case because the scheme provided for automatic disclosure where there was more than one conviction;  in G’s case the serious offence rule mandated disclosure of a reprimand imposed when he was 12 for behaviour accepted to be consensual childhood sexual experimentation and which bore no relation to risk;  in W’s case the serious offence rule mandated disclosure of his past conviction for ABH notwithstanding  he received a conditional discharge by way of a disposal.

The Court of Appeal upheld the decisions of the Divisional Court and Administrative Courts in P and  G, and allowed W’s appeal.  The Court held that the scheme was not in accordance with law because in the cases under consideration there was no mechanism by which the proportionality of the disclosure could be assessed, taking into account lapse of time, circumstances of offence, and disposal.  Further the operation of the multiple conviction rule and serious offence rules in the three cases were disproportionate, and otherwise than as is necessary in a democratic society.     

A case from Northern Ireland (Gallagher) also concerning the multiple conviction rule is to be heard by the Supreme Court in October and its is likely that the Government’s further appeal in these cases will be linked with that.


Copy of the judgment can be found here.


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