Media coverage of the Supreme Court hearing

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As a result of Unlock’s intervention at the Supreme Court in a landmark legal case on the criminal record disclosure regime, we  have featured in the following media:

BBC Newsnight

‘Fighting to change my criminal record’



The CIPD news site People Management

‘Criminal record checks could infringe human rights, Supreme Court hears’


The Independent

‘Government challenges ruling finding criminal record disclosure system unlawful’


The Guardian

‘Harsh’ criminal record checks hinder rehabilitation, court told’




For press/media enquiries, please contact Christopher Stacey, Co-director. Email or call 07557 676433 (daytime or out-of-hours).



  1. Christopher Stacey is Unlock’s spokesperson and available for interview. Profile here.
  2. Unlock is an independent, award-winning national charity that provides a voice and support for people with convictions who are facing stigma and obstacles because of their criminal record, often long after they have served their sentence.
  3. There are over 11 million people in the UK that have a criminal record.
  4. Unlock’s website is
  5. High-resolution images for media use are available from Unlock’s Flickr account.
  6. Unlock’s report, A life sentence for young people, was published in May 2018 and can be downloaded at
  7. Unlock has published a briefing on the DBS filtering process – available to download at
  8. Unlock is represented in these appeals by Salima Budhani and Theodora Middleton, Bindmans LLP, and barristers Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC and Jesse Nicholls, Doughty Street Chambers.


About the cases

These appeals consist of 4 cases: P, G, W (appeals from the Court of Appeal of England and Wales) and Gallagher (an appeal from the Court of Appeal of Northern Ireland). In all four cases, the Government is appealing, having lost in the Court of Appeal. There are summaries of the cases on Unlock’s website –

Unlock has intervened in the case, and we’ve been raising money to cover our legal costs. Supporting us now is a concrete way of standing up for people with old and minor convictions who are often silenced through the shame and stigma of their criminal record.

Donate £20, or any amount you can, at:


The current system

The Police Act 1997 created the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS – formerly the Criminal Records Bureau), which provides details of a job applicant’s previous convictions to prospective employers. For certain types of work, particularly work with children or vulnerable adults, the standard or enhanced certificates issued by the DBS used to list all the job applicant’s previous convictions.

However, in 2013, the Government amended this scheme following a Court of Appeal ruling (T v Chief Constable of Greater Manchester) to introduce a “filtering” process. Single convictions for non-violent, non-sexual offences that did not lead to a custodial sentence (including a suspended one) will be “filtered” (i.e. not disclosed) after 11 years (five-and-a-half years if the person was under 18 at the time of the offence).

The filtering process does not apply if a person has more than one conviction – regardless of the minor nature of the offences or the person’s circumstances at the time.

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