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Enforced Subject Access a Criminal Offence

On 10 March 2015, legislation came into force making it a criminal offence to require an individual to exercise their subject access rights under Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) to gain access to information about their convictions and cautions and provide that information as supporting evidence regarding a job application or before entering into a contract for goods, facilities or services.

The Information Commissioner’s Office has published guidance explaining the criminal offence, which is created under Section 56 of the DPA.

Enforced subject access will typically occur where a person wishes to see another individual’s criminal record but chooses not to use the established legal system for so doing. Committing such an offence in England and Wales can carry an unlimited fine.