News / Supreme Court upholds Sex Offenders Register appeal

Supreme Court upholds Sex Offenders Register appeal  


The Supreme Court has held that indefinite notification requirements without review for convicted sex offenders is incompatible with Article 8 Of the European Convention on Human Rights.

R (on the application of F (by his litigation friend F)) and Thompson (FC) (Respondents) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Appellant) [2010] UKSC 17
On appeal from [2009] EWCA Civ 792

> judgement

Any sex offender sentenced to more than 30 months must notify the police of where they are living and of travel abroad for the duration of life, according to Section 82 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Lords Phillips, Hope, Rodger, Clarke and Lady Hale held unanimously that while the notification requirements may not be disproportionate, there must be a way for the offender to seek a review of their status.

The leading judgement, given by Lord Phillips, President, states

"[57.] ...I think that it is obvious that there must be some circumstances in which an appropriate tribunal could reliably conclude that the risk of an individual carrying out a further sexual offence can be discounted to the extent that continuance of notification requirements is unjustified"

"[58.] ... I have concluded that the Divisional Court and the Court of Appeal were correct to find that the notification requirements constitute a disproportionate interference with article 8 rights because they make no provision for individual review of the requirements.”

The ruling upholds the declaration that the current law is incompatible with the right to exercise a private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The High Court made a ‘declaration of incompatibility’ which requires Parliament to amend the law to allow offenders to prove they may no longer present a risk.

Tim Owen QC and Pete Weatherby of GCN appeared for Angus Thompson instructed by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors

Quick links

> 16/2/11 - Offenders on sex register for life to get appeal right (BBC News)

> 16/2/11 - Sex offenders to get right to appeal over register (The Times - front page coverage) link not available

> 23/7/09 - Court of Appeal upholds sex offenders register ruling

> 19/12/08 - High Court ruling on sex offenders register

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