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Landmark Court of Appeal ruling – Government loses appeal against DBS filtering regime – Ruling gives hope to thousands of people trying to 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 ruling, handed down today, involved a number of cases that were heard in the Court of Appeal in February this year, including cases brought by Liberty and 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 ruling, 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.

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