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Changes to criminal records disclosure

Under the criminal records disclosure regime an employer is provided with information about an individual’s criminal record to help it decide whether that person is suitable for certain roles, particularly those working closely with children and vulnerable adults or where the role requires a high degree of public trust.

In the 2019 case of R (on the application of P) v Secretary of State for the Home Department 2019 UKSC 3, the Supreme Court held that some requirements of criminal records disclosures were disproportionate and incompatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the right to a private life).

In response to this decision, and with effect from the 28 November 2020, the definition of “relevant matter” has been narrowed in two significant ways:

  1. It removes youth cautions (including youth warnings and reprimands) from the scope of the definition so that they are no longer subject to mandatory disclosure.

  2. It also removes the ‘multiple conviction rule’, which provided that where a person had more than one conviction all their convictions (regardless of their nature) had to be disclosed.



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