0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Forgotten your password?

Enforced subject access requests now a criminal offence

13 March 2015

Since 10 March 2015 it has been a criminal offence, under s. 56 of the Data Protection Act 1998, to require individuals to make enforced subject access requests (SAR) whereby individuals’ provide personal information (including criminal records and cautions) to secure employment, goods, services or facilities.

The aim is to ensure such information is obtained through the Disclosure and Barring Service, shielding individuals from excessive disclosure of personal data that certain third parties may have no legitimate access to.

Enforced SARs remain permissible under rule of law or court order or if it is justifiable in the public interest. ICO guidance states “extremely strong justification” is needed to rely on the latter exception. For example the prevention or detection of crime would not benefit from the public interest defence due to the existence of formal criminal record checking procedures.

Organisations should ensure information related to individuals’ convictions and cautions is obtained through legitimate procedures as the offence can lead to an unlimited fine.

Related opinions

The frontier worker permit

All EU citizens who were not residing in the UK by the end of December 2020 and want to live and work in the UK from 1 January 2021 must apply for a visa as a result of Brexit.

View blog

The UK - India migration deal

The Young Professionals Scheme will make it easier for young Indian citizens and young Britons to access visas.

View blog

Home Office Central Registry for modern slavery statement goes live - first universities publish statements

The Home Office recently launched a central registry for modern slavery statements. A growing number of educational organisations, including a number of universities, have published statements on the registry.

View blog

Equal pay at ASDA stores - appeal to the Supreme Court unsuccessful

35,000 workers working in ASDA’s retail business sought to compare themselves to workers at distribution depots for equal pay purposes. Find out more about this Employment Appeal Tribunal.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up