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January 29 2013

Government to challenge Court of Appeal ruling on criminal records

The Court of Appeal has ruled that the blanket disclosure of all criminal convictions and cautions may breach job applicants' human rights. In giving judgment, it said that, while the criminal records checks system and the disclosure obligations interfered with individuals' rights to privacy, the interference might be justified where the aim was a legitimate one, namely in order to protect employers and vulnerable people. However, the Court said that unfiltered disclosure of all convictions and cautions irrespective of their relevance was disproportionate to those aims and so breached the right to respect for private life.

The Court did, however, say that the requirement to disclose serious offences was proportionate. This means that the Government may ultimately introduce a filtering system, which would take into account the relevance of information about an individual's criminal record to the job for which they are applying. However, the Government has applied for permission to appeal the judgment. On that basis, the Court has decided that its decision will not take effect in the meantime.