Three women have won a High Court battle against the government as to whether or not their previous convictions for prostitution ought to be disclosed.

Under the current Disclosure and Barring Scheme (‘DBS’) regime, those with previous criminal convictions are generally required to disclose all previous convictions, with a few very limited exceptions.

Steven Micklewright of Kangs Solicitors explains the position.

The Circumstances | Kangs Solicitors Regulatory Team

These three women, who had been forcefully trafficked into the sex trade, argued that the current system for disclosing previous criminal convictions criminalised victims of abuse and sexual trafficking and, in particular, women.

In view of the background leading to the soliciting offences, they argued that disclosure was discriminatory and breached their right under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights to a ‘Private Life’ (‘Article 8’).

Lawyers argued that criminalising these women, who had been unwillingly trafficked into the sex trade, for a lifetime, was contrary to the Government’s anti – human trafficking policy.

A representative of the women said:

‘the women in this case exited prostitution many years ago but continue to be blighted…many street prostitutes have been groomed, coerced and trafficked…and…as such this policy is inconsistent with the Modern Slavery Act because it continues to punish victims’.

In some particular circumstances, previous convictions may be filtered from a person’s DBS certificate after a period of time has elapsed.

The Court Judgement | DBS Challenge | Kangs DBS Advisory Solicitors

Following its deliberations, the court:

  • dismissed some of the contentions put forward, including the claim that the current DBS regime discriminated against women,
  • concluded that the DBS regime as it stood breached Article 8.

Accordingly, whilst the case was only a partial victory for the three women, it was an important one as the court’s judgment will, in future, result in convictions for soliciting being ‘filtered out’ when DBS checks are conducted.

Following the Hearing, the Home Office said they were considering their position but that:

‘the protection of children and other vulnerable groups remains a key priority of this government and the disclosure and barring scheme is a vital part of these efforts’.

How Can We Help? | Kangs DBS Solicitors

Kangs Solicitors DBS Team has a proven track record of representing clients who seek to challenge the information contained on their DBS Certificate and is able to draft representations to the Police and Independent Monitor challenging ‘any other relevant information held’ that a Police force may seek to disclose on an Enhanced DBS Certificate.

A sample of recent work includes:

If you require any assistance relating to a DBS Certificate then please contact our Team through:

Steven Micklewright
smicklewright@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396