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From 10 March, a number of changes are being made to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (ROA) by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment Act 2012.
Under the ROA, after a specific period of time has passed, cautions and convictions are regarded as spent. Once a caution or conviction becomes spent, an individual is treated as rehabilitated with regards to that offence, and they don’t have to declare it for most purposes, for example when applying for employment or insurance.
All the changes are retrospective. This means that those convicted before the new rules come into force will be affected by the changes, although no convictions which are already spent will become unspent.
The main changes to the ROA are as follows:- New guidance on the changes to the ROA has been issued by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) and can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/new-guidance-on-the-rehabilitation-of-offenders-act-1974.