What is a Spent Conviction?
Having a conviction declared spent effectively limits the disclosure of that conviction. For example, a conviction which has been spent is not listed on a National Police Certificate. However, certain government departments, licensing bodies as well as the Police and Courts of Law have exemptions under the Spent Convictions Act 1988 and have access to convictions that have been spent.
If a conviction is considered spent, the individual is not obliged to disclose any details of that conviction and any questions concerning an individual’s criminal history is taken to refer only to any convictions which are not spent.
Finally, where an Act or statutory instrument applies to a person, any reference to a conviction is taken to be a reference only to any convictions of the person which are not spent, and any reference to a person's character or fitness does not provide for consideration of spent convictions in that assessment. Certain exceptions apply and are detailed in the Spent Convictions Act 1988.