Skip to main content

Our mission is to support & advocate for people with criminal records to be able to move on positively in their lives. Find out more

Landmark Court of Appeal ruling – Government loses appeal against DBS filtering regime – Judgement will help thousands of people put their past behind them

For those of you that have been following the work we’ve been doing on challenging the DBS ‘filtering’ process, we’ve heard today that the Court of Appeal has rejected the Government’s appeal to a decision of the High Court in January last year. This ruled that the criminal records disclosure scheme was disproportionate and unlawful.

The judgement handed down today involved a number of cases that were heard in the Court of Appeal in February this year, including one from Liberty and one from Hodge, Jones & Allen, supported by Just for Kids Law.

The court heard the case of a man convicted in the 1980’s of ABH when he was 16 and received a conditional discharge. The President of the Queen’s Bench Division, Sir Brian Leveson, said in his judgement:

It is difficult to see how publication of this detail, 31 years on, is relevant to the risk of the public, or proportionate and necessary in a democratic society.

We’re delighted with the Court of Appeal’s judgement which will benefit thousands of people who have old or minor criminal records. The current system which was introduced in 2013, operates with inflexible rules meaning that, for example, someone with more than one conviction on their record will have them disclosed forever, regardless of the nature or circumstances. These shortcomings have now been recognised by the Court of Appeal.

We hope the next government will take immediate steps to respond to today’s ruling by reforming the current system and introducing a fairer and more flexible system.

More information

  1. Read Unlock’s full press release
  2. Find out more about our work on this issue on our policy page for challenging the DBS ‘filtering’ process
  3. For practical information on filtering, read our detailed guide
  4. Discuss this issue on our online forum.


Add Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Photo of Head of Advice, Debbie Sadler
Debbie Sadler
Head of Advice

Do you need help & support with an issue you’re facing?

We provide support and advice for people in England and Wales who need guidance with either their own, or someone else’s, criminal record.

Please use the search box to start typing your issue. If you cannot find an answer to your problem then you’ll be given options to contact us directly.

Find out more about the helpline

We want to make sure that our website is as helpful as possible.

Letting us know if you easily found what you were looking for or not enables us to continue to improve our service for you and others.

Was it easy to find what you were looking for?

Thank you for your feedback.

12 million people have criminal records in the UK. We need your help to help them.

Help support us now