19 June 2014 #Employment
The Supreme Court has confirmed that UK laws concerning compulsory disclosure of criminal offences for individuals seeking to work with children are a violation of the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Certain professional bodies and employers are permitted to request Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates ("ECRCs"). ECRCs disclose every `relevant matter` on the Police National Computer, revealing all spent convictions, no matter how historic or minor.
In a judgment given this week in T and another v Secretary of State for the Home Department and another, the Supreme Court considered the case of T and JB who applied for jobs working with children. T had been given a warning, then aged 11, for stealing two bicycles. When T applied for a job at a football club this had to be disclosed as the role potentially involved interaction with children. JB, then aged 41, had been given a caution for shoplifting some false nails. The compulsory disclosure of this caution was the reason she was rejected for a job as a care worker eight years later. Neither party had any other criminal record.
The Supreme Court held this violated respect to private life under Article 8 ECHR. The majority of the Supreme Court found that the interference was not justified and unlawful. The Court could not see “any rational connection” between “minor dishonesty as a child and the question whether, as an adult, the person might pose a threat to the safety of children”. The Supreme Court unanimously held that the interference is not necessary in a democratic society
Lord Wilson echoed the Home Secretary`s own words that the criminal records system should be scaled back to "common sense levels”.
Prior to the hearing, the Government amended the offending legislation.