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Tommy – A call to the Unlock helpline led to my conviction becoming spent and a new job

Tommy contacted our helpline for information and advice after a conviction which was over 8 years old had been disclosed on his basic Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate.

He explained that he had been convicted in early 2013 and received a £70 fine and a restraining order. From the research he had done, he knew that his fine would be spent after 1 year and he had therefore not disclosed it to an employer at a recent interview. His application had been successful and his new employer had asked him to apply for a basic DBS check which he’d just received. Tommy couldn’t understand why his conviction was still showing and was extremely worried that as a result of this disclosure, the job offer would be withdrawn.

The helpline advisor explained that as Tommy had been given an indefinite restraining order, his conviction was considered unspent. The advisor suggested that Tommy should consider applying to the court to have the restraining order revoked. If his application were successful, then his conviction would be spent and would no longer appear on his basic DBS certificate.

Over the next couple of days, Tommy spent some time drafting a letter to the court and emailed a copy of it to the helpline for feedback and comments.

Two months later Tommy contacted the helpline again with an update; the court had agreed to revoke the restraining order. He told us:

“After speaking to the Unlock helpline advisor, I knew what I needed to do and applying to the court and attending a remote hearing at the court was all really straightforward.

Sadly, the employer I’d originally applied to wasn’t interested in listening to the circumstances surrounding my conviction, they were only concerned with the fact that I’d apparently lied to them. Nevertheless, I’ve recently started a new job working for the Civil Service and I’m absolutely loving it.



We regularly hear from people who, because of the presence of a court order, have a conviction which remains unspent. The impact of this type of order is rarely explained and many people are not aware that court orders have their own rehabilitation periods.



Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

Published July 2021.


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