Spent Convictions – the next level

So, you were successful in having the court record no conviction in your case. That means your ‘conviction’ becomes automatically spent, and cannot be disclosed by anyone, right? Not necessarily. Unfortunately, as employment clearances such as national police certificates become more and more specific, employers and other organisations have greater access to citizens’ spent convictions and criminal records.

Not too long ago most people weren’t required to submit to a national criminal history check prior to being employed. Requirements have become more and more stringent and now huge numbers of workers have to agree to their prospective employer seeking a national police certificate for them. Where this is a standard police certificate sought by an employer, spent convictions will not ordinarily appear. However, there are different classes of certificates employers can seek such as for the purpose of working with vulnerable people. In these cases the issuing body (say the company engaged by the employer to provide the certificate) will be entitled to disclose convictions which have been spent. This means your ‘without conviction’ offence will show up.

There is something you can do, however. It’s possible to make an application to a Magistrate to have your offence exempted from disclosure in certain circumstances. Where the criminal history check is for the purposes of working with vulnerable people or where the check is for the purpose of a character test, you may be able to have the offence(s) exempted from disclosure.

An illustration of that is the recent case of a client of mine who had pleaded guilty to an offence which had nothing to do with her ability to perform her job, or her suitability for her profession. She was successful in having no conviction recorded at the sentencing. Her conviction was therefore automatically ‘spent’. Nevertheless had it not been for our subsequent successful application to a Magistrate, this offence would have been disclosed on a police check for the purpose of working with vulnerable people.

If you have a spent conviction but are worried it may still show up on a police check, please do not hesitate to contact Mac and Co for free preliminary advice.

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