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CRIMINAL LAW/LOCAL AUTHORITY: R (L) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis (Secretary of State for the Home Department Intervening) [2007] EWCA Civ 168

Date:3 JAN 2007

(Court of Appeal; Longmore, Smith and Moore-Bick LJJ; 3 January 2007)

The mother's child had been placed on the child protection register under the category of neglect because the child was out of control and engaging in dangerous and criminal behaviour. The child was eventually removed from the register after his conviction for robbery for which he received a custodial sentence. The mother was later employed as a midday assistant in a school. The enhanced criminal record certificate obtained under s 115 of the Police Act 1997 in respect of the mother's employment included, under 'other relevant information disclosed at the Chief Police Officer(s) discretion', information about the child's criminal behaviour and an allegation that the mother had failed to exercise the required degree of care and supervision. The mother applied for judicial review of the decision to disclose the information. The judge dismissed the application on the basis that there was no error or flaw in the approach of the police or the decision reached. The mother appealed.

Information could only be provided under s 115 if the application for an enhanced criminal record certificate was accompanied by a statement that the certificate was required for the purpose of an exempted question (a question to be answered without regard to any restriction relating to spent convictions or to any circumstances ancillary to spent convictions). Once the trigger statement had been made, the only restriction on the information to be included was that the Chief Officer of Police must think (i) that the information might be relevant to the statement's purpose, and (ii) that the information ought to be included in the certificate. Non-criminal matters could be disclosed.