Criminal Records Bill [HL]: Briefing for Lords Stages

This House of Lords Library Briefing has been prepared in advance of the second reading in the House of Lords of the Criminal Records Bill [HL] on 23 February 2018.

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The Criminals Records Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Ramsbotham (Crossbench). The Bill received its first reading in the House of Lords on 29 June 2017, and is scheduled to receive its second reading on 23 February 2018. The Bill proposes to amend the length of time it takes for an offender’s caution or conviction to become ‘spent’ under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. Setting out the purpose of the Bill, Lord Ramsbotham explained:

The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 has long been criticised because, by demanding the disclosure of many offences, particularly those committed as a child, it prevents rehabilitation. The Labour Government published a review entitled Breaking the Circle in 2002, followed by a consultation, but did not change the Act.  As part of its ‘Rehabilitation Revolution’, the Coalition Government published another consultation document entitled Breaking the Cycle in 2010, in which the Act was described as ‘being inconsistent with contemporary sentencing practice’. There was however no mention of the Act in the Government’s response to the consultation, but two reforms were included in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.  Since then a Disclosure and Barring Service has been introduced, which the Law Commission has pronounced to lack coherence. The Bill seeks to clarify the present position regarding the disclosure of offences, and rename the Act the Criminal Records Act.

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