No disclosure of criminal records relating to prostitution offences


Proceedings were brought by three individuals who had been convicted, many years ago, of offences of loitering or soliciting in a street or public place for the purpose of prostitution, contrary to section 1 of the Street Offences Act 1959.

The claimants argued that the recording and retention of information concerning their historic convictions, and the requirement to disclose those convictions if seeking particular types of employment, was unlawful.

A Divisional Court found that the requirement to disclose those convictions was in breach of Article 8 ECHR, in accordance with a series of other cases challenging the existing criminal records disclosure legislation: R (QSA) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWHC 407 (Admin).

The Court otherwise dismissed the claims. It rejected the argument that disclosure of such convictions was unlawfully gender discriminatory contrary to Article 14, or that constituted a breach Article 4 as a penalty on trafficking victims. Importantly, the claims that the mere retention of the information was unlawful under Article 8 ECHR, and that the very existence of the prostitution offence in section 1 of the 1959 Act, were held to be “unarguable”.

You can read the full judgment here

Christopher Knight appeared for the Secretaries of State.