Supreme Court judgment today - a public law classic example
As you may have heard in the news today, a judgment has been handed down in the Supreme Court in a case that involved a number of linked appeals including ’W’ for whom our Judicial Review & Public Law Specialist, Keith Lomax, has been acting for some years. This was a classic public law case and a useful example for when you or someone you know may require Keith’s assistance (as the term Judicial Review remains a mystery to many).
The appeals concerned two rules about disclosing criminal records on DBS certificates. A criminal offence can be a killer blow to getting a job as an employer faced with a choice may well discard your application out of hand.
The rule we were fighting was that ‘W’ had a fight after school when 16 years old and received a Conditional Discharge for assault at the magistrates court. That that means his offence gets disclosed on his DBS certificate until he reaches 100 years old. He has no other offences in his life. He is in his 50s and re-trained to be a teacher and teaching is one of those jobs where this rule for disclosure applies. One might well think ‘how stupid is that’, but the Supreme Court judges refused to find the regime to be unlawful.
The second rule was the ‘multiple conviction rule’ so if you have more than one conviction then the disclosure rule applies until you reach 100. So, as a youth, you could have a minor shoplifting offence plus a breach of bail condition, which means two offences and disclosure for life! That can’t be right and on this the judges agreed, so the law will now have to be changed.
Cases like these just need someone to simply think: “This isn’t right”. That is the starting point for many ‘public law’ challenges and judicial review cases. So, when you feel that reaction to a situation you are faced with, it could be the start of an important legal challenge and worth letting us know.
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