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Challenge to the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme.

R (XX) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Ors [2016] EWCA Civ 597

Related Member(s):
Hugh Southey QC
Related Practice Area(s):
Human Rights, Public Law

The appellant had been convicted of multiple sex offences, resulting in his name being included on the Sex Offenders Register for an indefinite period. The appellant, who had not committed any further offences since his conviction in 1996, appealed against the dismissal of his judicial review application against the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme.

He argued that the scheme was contrary to ECHR, art 8(2), as there was no independent supervisory authority or review body outside the police to review disclosure and to consider whether a criminal subjected to the scheme should be exempted from disclosure. He also suggested that the absence of a presumption to consult with the individual for whom disclosure was required and to allow them to make representations was disproportionate. The appellant asserted that the general presumption in favour of disclosure in certain circumstances was a breach of art 8 rights.

The court held, in line with Strasbourg decisions, that the police were not restricted in exercising their statutory powers, provided they acted in accordance with the law. Reports showed that there had been an increased consistency of practice with regard to the Child Sex Offender Disclosure Scheme, and the respondent had demonstrated that there were proper controls on the disclosure of information to satisfy the requirement that any interference with art 8 rights was in accordance with law and proportionate.

The court observed that the availability of judicial review meant there was no general requirement for an independent overseer.

The court further noted that there was no free standing general requirement that a subject should have an opportunity to seek exemption from the scheme.

The court rejected the argument made in respect of the presumption in favour of disclosure.

The appeal was dismissed.

Hugh Southey QC was involved in this case.