ABWOR can now be made available to appeal refusal of historical sexual offence disregards

The Historical Sexual Offences (Pardons and Disregards) (Scotland) Act 2018 introduced pardoning of individuals previously convicted of criminal offences for engaging in same-sex sexual activity which would now be legal.

The Act also introduced a system to enable a person with such a conviction to apply to have it disregarded so that information about that conviction held in records does not show up in a disclosure check.

The initial application is made to Scottish Ministers. Where such an application is refused by the Scottish Ministers, the applicant has a right of appeal to the sheriff.

Subject to SLAB’s approval, ABWOR can now be made available as a result of changes introduced by the Advice and Assistance (Assistance by Way of Representation) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 to individuals seeking to appeal to the sheriff against the refusal of a disregard application.

Advice and assistance may be available in relation to the initial application to Scottish Ministers subject to the usual eligibility criteria. ABWOR is not available at that stage.

Our guidance has been amended to reflect the change and is prior approval and eligibility.

If you require further information, please contact Catriona Whyte at whyteca@slab.org.uk.

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