Conditional discharge did not in law amount to a conviction

Mrs O was refused further leave to remain in the UK on the basis that she had made false representations in her application form by failing to declare that she had pleaded guilty to four offences of shoplifting, for which she had been conditionally discharged. Her appeal was dismissed by the First-tier Tribunal.

Deborah Revill was instructed in the Upper Tribunal and successfully argued that, by virtue of section 14(1) of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, Mrs O’s conditional discharge did not in law amount to a conviction. Mrs O had therefore answered truthfully when she stated in her application that she had never ‘been convicted of any criminal offence’. Following Deborah’s identification of this point, the Home Office withdrew their decision and confirmed that they would grant Mrs O leave to remain. Deborah successfully argued before Mr Justice Green and Upper Tribunal Judge Dawson that the appeal raised a novel point of law such that, notwithstanding the withdrawn decision, it was in the public interest for the matter to be substantively determined by the Upper Tribunal.

Mrs O’s appeal was allowed and the decision is reported at [2014] UKUT 314 (IAC).