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Google settles out of court with individual who has spent conviction, in the UK’s first ‘right to be forgotten’ case involving criminal records

The problem of spent convictions appearing online is a real and significant problem for many people.

Two individuals with spent convictions brought claims against Google for refusing to de-list search engine results that contained details of their now spent convictions. The cases, the first in the UK on the so-called ‘right to be forgotten’, had a judgment from the High Court in April this year. One case was successful (NT2) and the other one failed (NT1).

The one that failed had appealed to the Court of Appeal and the case was due to be heard today, the 20th December, but the appeal has been withdrawn as the case has been settled. This could be because Google has agreed to de-list. It could be because NT1 has decided not to proceed with the appeal.

We will be doing more work in early 2019 to better understand the implications of the High Court judgment from back in April.

As it stands, we continue to suggest that people with spent convictions apply to Google and other search engines if there are search results that link to articles with spent convictions. If the request to de-list is refused, we encourage people to raise a formal complaint with the ICO and we’re still collecting evidence of responses to these types of requests.

Related links

  1. Read our comment on the High Court judgment from back in April this year.
  2. Find out more about our work on the so-called ‘Google-effect’ on our website.


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Photo of Helpline lead, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Helpline lead

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