The High Court has held that the automatic barring procedure introduced by the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 breaches the right to a fair trial. Barring individuals convicted of certain offences from working with children and vulnerable adults without first allowing them to make representations was a disproportionate interference with Article 6.

Three nurses were automatically placed on a barring list after being cautioned for offences, during which time they all lost their jobs and salary, but were all removed from the list following representations. The Court accepted that there would be rare situations where urgent action was required, but could not accept the justification for automatic inclusion of all persons convicted or cautioned of specified offences.

The Government launched a major review of the vetting and barring scheme in October 2010 and recommendations are expected in early 2011.

R (on the application of Royal College of Nursing) and others v Secretary of State for the Home Department and another