Do you need to tell a future employer about your criminal record? What if you got a section 10 or a bond?

You may be asked to disclose whether or not you have a criminal record, e.g. by an employer or potential employer. Where your conviction is spent, you are usually not required to disclose that particular conviction. Some offences never become spent. Read about spent convictions here.

Moreover, certain kinds of employment, such as child-related employment, are exempt from spent conviction legislation. This means that you will have to disclose all convictions, even if they are spent.

Where you have obtained a “section 10” for the particular offence (i.e. there has been a finding of guilt but no conviction is recorded), you may not have to disclose the guilty finding. However, more and more employers are getting smarter about the way in which they ask questions about criminal history in job applications. Many ask not just about convictions, but also about “section 10” or “findings of guilt”. Many people presume that if a question like this is asked, you must answer it directly and disclose any previous “section 10s”.

This may not necessarily be the correct approach. The Criminal Records Act 1991 defines a “section 10” as a conviction that immediately becomes spent. Since it is a “spent conviction”, it can be argued that even if an employer asks you a direct questions about any previous “section 10s” or “findings of guilt”, you do not have to disclose these, as long as the “section 10” bond or conditions have expired.

Moreover, as previously discussed, where there is a bond or intervention program attached to the “section 10” it is unclear whether the conviction becomes spent immediately, or only after the bond or intervention program has come to an end.

At this stage there are no decided cases as to what the correct position is. This article should not be construed as legal advice – it simply raises an argument that may or may not be endorsed by a court.


If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.


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