SRA Handbook

Rehabilitation

Version 21 of the Handbook was published on 6 December 2018. For more information, please click "History" above.

8: Rehabilitation

8.1

It is for you to demonstrate that you have undergone successful rehabilitation, where relevant. The individual circumstances you put forward must be weighed against the public interest and the need to safeguard members of the public and maintain the reputation of the profession. However, we will consider each application on its own merits.

8.2

If the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 is applicable to your occupation, profession or role, you must declare all convictions and cautions, even if they are deemed to be spent in accordance with the Act, unless they are protected convictions or cautions.

8.3

In accordance with paragraph 2 above (disclosure), if you fall within the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 and you fail to disclose information about convictions and/or cautions for criminal offences which are not protected convictions or cautions, whether they are spent or unspent, we will consider this as amounting to prima facie evidence of dishonest behaviour.

Guidance note

(i)

The provisions of the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 will be taken into account by us in considering any application you make.

(ii)

This means that if you fall within the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975, the fact that the conviction is spent, and the time that has passed since the conviction was given, together with any other material circumstances will be taken into account by us when determining any application made by you.

(iii)

A period of rehabilitation, particularly after we have decided to refuse your application, will not in itself result in automatic admission/authorisation. We need you to show, through a period of good behaviour, that you have taken steps to rehabilitate yourself by your own volition.

(iv)

Amendments made to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 in May 2013 introduced "protected convictions" and "protected cautions". Questions we ask about convictions or cautions will, therefore, exclude protected convictions or cautions and failure to disclose will not be considered as prima facie evidence of dishonesty.

(v)

A caution is a "protected caution" if:

(a)

it was given other than for an offence listed in article 2A(5) of the Exceptions Order, and;

(b)

where the person was aged:

(A)

18 or over at the time the caution was given, six years or more have passed since the caution was given, or;

(B)

under 18 at the time the caution was given, two years or more have passed since the caution was given.

(vi)

A conviction is a "protected conviction" if:

(a)

it was given other than for an offence listed in article 2A(5) of the Exceptions Order;

(b)

a sentence other than custody or service detention was imposed;

(c)

the person has not been convicted of any other offence at any time, and;

(d)

where the person was aged:

(A)

18 or over at the time of the conviction, 11 years or more have passed since the date of conviction, or

(B)

under 18 at the time of the conviction, five and a half years or more have passed since the date of conviction.

(vii)

The DBS will filter any protected convictions and cautions, so they will not appear on standard disclosures.

(viii)

The following individuals and roles are covered by the Exceptions Order and spent convictions and cautions, excluding protected convictions and cautions, must be disclosed:

(a)

applicants seeking admission to the profession, i.e. applicants for eligibility to commence or continue a period of recognised training, QLTS certificates of eligibility, and admission;

(b)

non-lawyer  managers in existing Legal Disciplinary Practices;

(c)

non-lawyer  owners who hold a material interest in a licensed body; and

(d)

COLPs and COFAs of licensed bodies.

(ix)

The following individuals and roles are not covered by the Exceptions Order and spent convictions and cautions should not be disclosed:

(a)

former solicitors seeking restoration to the roll;

(b)

owners of recognised bodies;

(c)

COLPs and COFAs of recognised bodies;

(d)

owners of licensed bodies who do not require approval under Schedule 13 to the LSA; and

(e)

managers of authorised bodies.

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