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20 Dec 21 Back to Listing

R(RD) v (1) Secretary of State for Justice and (2) NPCC: Supreme Court refuses permission to appeal

The Supreme Court has refused the Claimant permission to appeal in this challenge to the legislative framework governing the disclosure of convictions and cautions (including youth cautions) by applicants for appointment to the office of constable. Jason Beer QC and Bobby Talalay are instructed on behalf of the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC). 

The Court of Appeal ([2021] 1 WLR 262) distinguished between the lawfulness of retention, of disclosure, and of use of youth cautions: it was only concerned with the lawfulness of the framework governing the second question - of disclosure. The Court held that the disclosure framework was accessible and foreseeable and was thus ‘in accordance with the law’. In deciding that the scheme was also proportionate, the Court first considered that the Secretary of State was entitled to draw a ‘bright line rule’ in a matter such as this. In considering whether that bright line had been drawn in the right place, the Court relied on the combined evidence of the Secretaries of State and the NPCC to the effect that the office of constable required the utmost integrity; that public trust and confidence in the police service required that complete disclosure, including of youth cautions, was given at the recruitment stage; and disclosure was required in order to make informed decisions as to the deployability of an applicant if they became a constable. In making that finding, the Court of Appeal distinguished the recruitment of constables from a general statement made by Lord Sumption as to the purpose of youth cautions in P [2020] AC 185 at [64]. The scheme of disclosure was accordingly proportionate.

A copy of the Court of Appeal’s Judgment can be found online here.

Jason and Bobby acted in the Divisional Court and in the Court of Appeal for the NPCC.  They both appear in the full range of police law disciplines, but have particular experience of public law challenges.