If you have a spent conviction for an offence that is disclosed according to rules, or for an offence that must be disclosed (and the necessary time has passed since the conviction), you can apply to have it removed from your disclosure certificate if you think it is not relevant.
If you have a conviction for same-sex sexual activity that would now be legal, you can apply for a 'disregard' to remove this from your certificate. You can get a disregard for any sexual activity that would now be legal, for example chatting up or having sex with another man.
Apply to a sheriff
For all convictions not covered by disregards, you need to apply to a sheriff. The sheriff will make a decision about whether to remove the conviction information from your disclosure certificate. Disclosure Scotland cannot make this decision.
To apply, you must:
- make sure the conviction is spent and is on either the list of offences that are disclosed according to rules, or on the list of offences that must be disclosed
- if your offence is on the list of offences that must be disclosed, make sure either 15 years (if you were 18 or over on the date of the conviction) or 7 years and 6 months (if you were under 18 years on the date of the conviction) have passed since your conviction
- contact Disclosure Scotland within 10 working days of the date of issue on your certificate to tell them you intend to apply to a sheriff. Email HLC.Appeal@disclosurescotland.gov.scot
- make your application to the sheriff within 3 months of telling Disclosure Scotland you're going to apply
Once you've told Disclosure Scotland that you want to apply to a sheriff, it cannot send a copy of your certificate to your countersignatory until the sheriff makes a decision on your application. This may delay an employer from making a job offer.
When applying to a sheriff, you should:
- contact your local sheriff court
- tell the clerk of the sheriff court you want to make a summary application
- if it relates to a standard or enhanced disclosure under the Police Act, make the application under section 116ZB(2) of the Police Act 1997
- if it relates to a PVG scheme record disclosure, make the application under section 52A(2) of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007
- include relevant information, such as the date of your disclosure certificate and the date you notified Disclosure Scotland
- include details of the spent convictions you are applying to be removed
- explain why your conviction is not relevant
If you change your mind
If you decide not to apply to the sheriff, you can email Disclosure Scotland at HLC.Release@disclosurescotland.gov.scot within 10 working days of the date of issue of your disclosure certificate. They can then send the countersignatory copy of your certificate to your employer or other registered body.
You must contact Disclosure Scotland within 10 working days to tell them you're going to withdraw your application, otherwise the countersignatory's copy of your certificate will no longer be available. If you decide after 10 working days to withdraw your application to a sheriff and you still need a disclosure certificate, you'll have to apply again and pay the appropriate fee.
Decisions by the sheriff about removing convictions
The sheriff's decision on an application is final and will be acted on by Disclosure Scotland. If the sheriff decides that conviction information should be removed, Disclosure Scotland will do a fresh criminal record check on the applicant before they issue a new standard disclosure, enhanced disclosure, or PVG scheme record.
The Scottish Courts and Tribunals Service website has more information on how to make a summary application to a sheriff court.
You can also contact Disclosure Scotland for help.
Phone: 0300 020 0040
Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm
Friday 9am to 3:30pm
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