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Law Reform Commission: Report on Spent Convictions

31st July 2007

Law Reform CommissionThe Law Reform Commission Report on Spent Convictions was launched on 31st July 2007.

Under current law, records of criminal convictions of adults are permanent; this Report examines whether some very old convictions might be looked on as being “spent” or no longer relevant for certain purposes. The Report finds that a limited spent convictions law for adults should be introduced where some old convictions would not have to be disclosed.

However, the Report emphasises that even very old convictions should be disclosed for vetting purposes when applying for certain sensitive posts, including the supervision or care of children, vulnerable adults or in the context of sensitive public positions, such as those connected with State security or the legal system.

The Report notes that certain offences committed when a person was under 18 years (but not, for example, murder or rape) are already subject to a spent convictions system in section 258 of the Children Act 2001.

The Report sets out in detail the elements of the proposed spent convictions law and it also includes a draft Spent Convictions Bill.

The Report also discusses Garda vetting; the Commission supports the call by other bodies to put the current Garda vetting system on a modern statutory footing.

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